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New Zealand residential real estate market steady

The current rate of sale of properties has been growing steadily over the past six months and whilst in last couple of months this rate of sale has been at a higher rate than listings leading to a decline in inventory during September this balance was redressed.

Asking prices are now 3.4% ahead of September last year and just 1% below the peak asking price set in April of this year, the report from RealEstateNZ shows.

The truncated mean asking price for all new listings in September rose significantly from $415,078 in August to $425,565. On a seasonally adjusted basis the asking price rose by 1.5% in the month indicating that there is an emerging confidence amongst sellers of stronger prices.

There is a seasonal trend that sees asking price rise in the early spring each year, this year that seasonal rise is somewhat more significant and could result in a new peak of asking price.

A total of 11,117 new listings came onto the market representing a 5% year on year increase; on a seasonally adjusted basis the rise was a more modest 0.3%.

On a 12 month moving total basis the number of new listings in the past year totals 124,102 as compared 142,778 for the same period a year ago, a fall of 12%.

The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of September rose slightly. At the end of the month there were 46,299 houses, apartments and lifestyle properties on the market up from 44,689 in August and down from 51,035 a year ago. This current level of inventory represents 37.2 weeks of equivalent sales.

The national asking price expectation rose significantly in September due to seasonal factors. Across the country this trend was seen in 17 of the 19 regions reporting a rise in the truncated mean asking price as compared to the recent 3 month average. The most significant rises were seen in the Auckland, Manawatu/Wanganui, Canterbury and the West Coast all of which exceeded 5% growth as compared to recent three month average.

There were just two regions which experienced falls in asking price, Marllborough down 1.6% and Southland down a significant 7.9%.

Listings flow was strong in September with 12 of the 19 regions seeing rises. Significant rises were seen on the West Coast and in the Marlborough region. By contrast just 4 regions saw comparable year on year falls in new listings. Northland saw a significant 22% fall as compared to last year.

Whilst the overall state of the property market still favours sellers, the trend of the past month has seen some easing in some regions as new listing levels have outpaced sales. There are still 11 of the 19 regions of the country that have an inventory measured as weeks of equivalent sales below the long term average.

The three key metro areas of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are all sitting with inventory well below long term average and have seen very active local pockets of property buying as listings in short supply have driven some active buyer activity.