Property sales fell in Auckland in September, most likely due to general election

Property prices in New Zealand’s biggest market in Auckland remained solid in September even though sales numbers fell to levels not seen in the month for seven years.

The latest real estate data analysis suggests that prices are not likely to fall significantly going forward with buyers prepared to meet asking prices.

However, the report from agents Barfoot & Thompson does say that the general election in September added uncertainty to the housing market and had an impact on sales which fell by 15.3% month on month.

However, the average sales price increased by 1% month on month to $928,213 and the median price increased by 4.9% to $860,000 with both measures being marginally higher than they were in September 2016.

A contributing factor to prices edging higher in September was that two thirds of all sales were of properties for in excess of $750,000, with 38.6% reaching a sale price of in excess of $1 million.

According to Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson, properties in the higher price brackets tend to be less affected by uncertainty about potential future price movements.

He pointed out that sellers were prepared to accept prices at close to what have prevailed for the past six months, but have been declining low offers. ‘The overriding sentiment of sellers was that the fundamentals that have driven the market for the past two years have not changed, and that prices are not likely to fall significantly,’ he said.

‘There are a significant number of buyers actively searching, and those that are realistic and prepared to meet the market are making a purchase. Factors such as high population growth, stable mortgage interest rates and a shortage of supply remain,’ he added.

Looking forward, with the general election out of the way and a future Government likely to be confirmed by the middle of October, the normal spring lift in new listings for sales pre-Christmas and greater sales activity is likely to return to the market by early November.

The data also shows that new listings for the month at 1,414 were solid, some 12.2% higher than in August and at the end of the month total listings were down 4.1% on those at the end of August.

Rural and lifestyle property sales mirrored those of residential properties, with sales numbers being lower and prices stable.