Auckland house prices rise to a record, as more million dollar houses sell
By Suze Metherell
Oct. 3 (BusinessDesk) - Auckland house sales rose in September, snapping three previous months of decline, as more houses with a $1 million plus price tag pushed the average house price to a record, according to Barfoot & Thompson.
The number of sales rose to 959 in September, from 909 in August, although below the 1,105 sold in September last year, Auckland's biggest realtor said in a statement. The average sales price rose 3.8 percent to a record $738,876, and was 12 percent above last September's average house price.
Of the houses sold, 17 percent carried a $1 million plus price tag, while properties under $500,000 made up 30 percent of sales, Barfoot said. House sales had slowed in the lead up to Sept. 20 general election, as electoral uncertainty spooked house hunters, particularly those at the lower end of the market, with both major political parties proposing reforms to try and rein in housing affordability. The incumbent National party has been returned for a third-term in government, and will introduce policies allowing prospective buyers to tap into more of their Kiwisaver funds and give power to councils to fast-track residential development.
"Properties in the higher price range are less affected by the uncertainties that exists during a run into a general election, and with such a high number of sales at the high end the average price has lifted more than might be the case in a normal month's trading," said Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson. "Without a doubt, the election's influence can be seen in September's sales numbers. However what can also be seen in the month's figure is that housing activity was starting to lift during September, and normal spring trading can be expected now the election is behind us."
New listings rose 16.4 percent to 1,314 in September from the month earlier, but were 20 percent lower than the same month in the previous year.
At the end of September Barfoot had 3,075 listings on its books, down from 3,226 at the end of August, and the smallest for any September in over a decade, Barfoot said. The pipeline may take another month to bulk up, and the restricted choice may put upward pressure on prices in the meantime, the realtor said.
Meanwhile, Realestate.co.nz, the industry owned website where realtors can advertise properties, said nationally the number of houses for sale remained below the average of the past two-and-a-half years in September. This was particularly evident in Auckland, which had 15 weeks worth of stock, below its normal average of 27 weeks, it said. Over the past year the national asking price rose 3.9 percent to $484,791, a smaller gain than the 8.7 percent increase in the previous year.