Auckland property market was steady at start of 2018

Property prices eased upward in the final months of 2017 in Auckland in New Zealand but sales were down considerably compared to January 2017, the latest agents report shows.

In January the average price reached $934,753, some 1.5% higher than the average for the previous three months, while the median price at $830,000 was 1.6% lower than the average for the previous three months.

But sales were down 13.8% on the average of the previous three months and down 5.7% on sales recorded on January 2017, the data also shows.

However, overall the property market is regarded as steady with very little change in recent months, according to Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.

‘It was a steady start to the year with sales numbers remaining low while sellers and buyers reached agreement at prices consistent with those for the last quarter of 2017. This stable trading trend first emerged in April last year, and has rolled over to the start of the New Year,’ he said.

When it comes to prices, Barfoot said that variations of 1.6% or less across a four month period represent very little change. ‘However, given January’s short and holiday interrupted trading period, caution needs to be attached to drawing strong conclusions from the month’s sales,’ he pointed out.

Sales of home in the high end categories of $2 million and $1 million were consistent with the number of sales in these price categories in January last year while sales of properties for under $500,000 fell from 13% of all sales in January 2017 to 8% in January 2018.

New listings in January at 1200 were strong, and were 5.1% higher than in January last year and at the end of the month the firm had 4,320 properties on its books, the highest number of listings at the end of January for six years.

Barfoot believes that the outlook for residential housing for the first half of 2018 is positive. ‘With prices having plateaued, stable mortgage interest rates and the potential that greater access to mortgage finance will be made available to first time buyers and those on limited income, sales numbers can be expected to grow as we head into the traditionally strong February to August sales period,’ he explained.

‘The same situation exists for rural and lifestyle property sales. With buyers being selective and taking their time, sales activity in this sector was quiet in January. There was a strong level of buyer interest, and a solid level of quality new listings including a number of dairy farms,’ he said.

‘Interest in small to medium sized commercial property was strong in January, and our sales for the month at $78 million were the highest on record for the month of January,’ he added.