Average property prices in New Zealand fell at the end of 2016 but agents believe it was a seasonal blip rather than a sign that the housing market is set to slowdown as sales levels did not dip.
Average prices fell by 2% in December month on month to $913,709 while the median price was $840,000, down 1.8% month on month, the latest data from Barfoot and Thompson shows.
‘It was a typical December trading period with sales numbers and new listings in line with those for the previous year, and prices being not far off the record prices of October and November,’ said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.
While average prices are still up 8.6% year on year, it is the lowest annual price growth for four years, well down on the average rise of 13.9% in 2015, 10.3% in 2014 and 11.1% in 2013.
Thompson explained that signs that the rate at which prices were increasing was declining has been there since the middle of 2016 and that decline showed in the prices achieved at the end of the year.
‘While prices definitely eased there was certainly no suggestion that current prices are under any great downward pressure and normal sales numbers are being achieved,’ he explained, adding that December’s modest price retreat is similar to that which occurred last December and it took until March for the upward price trend to re-appear.
The index data also shows that new listings at 776 were the lowest in a month for the whole year, but were the highest in a December for five years and more than a third higher than it was at the same time last year.