For the first time in 14 years average and median home prices in Auckland, New Zealand, did not fall at the beginning of a year.
The latest data shows that prices paid in January were marginally higher than those paid in December 2016 and did not experience the usual New Year seasonal dip.
However the data from real estate agents Barfoot & Thompson show that sales fell in January more than is usual while new listings were healthy and choice increased to its best level for the month for three years.
The average price in January was $913,938 and the median price $846,500, reversing a three month sales price decline from all-time highs set in October 2016.
Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson, explained that January is normally associated with a dip in prices so the market started the year stronger than expected. But he urged caution about reading too much about future trends into sales data for the month.
‘It gives us a price start point for the year at the same level as it was in December. That has not occurred in the records since 2003. The market is still regaining momentum from the holiday break and it can lead to statistical anomalies,’ he warned.
Thompson also pointed out that a contributing factor to January’s average and median prices tracking those for December is that this year 31.2% of all the homes sold in January were for in excess of $1 million, a higher percentage than normally seen in January.
‘What has come through across all price segments is there were no obvious signs prices were under great pressure to fall. At the start of this year buyers enjoyed greater choice than has been the case at this time of the year for four years,’ Thompson said.
The data shows that sales numbers in January were their lowest in any month for five years and 12.5% of sales were for under $500,000. Sales of rural and lifestyle property in January mirrored that for residential houses.
‘Prices achieved remained in line with those being paid in December with a high level of new listings coming to market,’ added Thompson.