Auckland house sales dip as Easter holiday saps activity in April
By Paul McBeth
May 2 (BusinessDesk) - Auckland realtor Barfoot & Thompson says activity slowed last month in the country's biggest city due to the Easter and Anzac Day holidays, although sale prices were largely flat.
The city's biggest realtor sold 667 properties in April, down from 731 sales a year earlier, while the median sale price was unchanged at $830,000 from April 2018.
Director Kiri Barfoot blamed the threat of a capital gains tax - which the coalition government ruled out late in the month - and the holiday period for subdued trading that month. Nevertheless, Real Estate Institute figures have shown sluggish activity in the first three months of the year.
"In addition to the uncertainty(that) the shadow of a potential capital gains tax threw over April sales activity, the market also had to contend with an exceptionally long holiday break created by Easter and Anzac Day being so close,” Barfoot said in a statement.
"There are no signals suggesting prices might make a major retreat. The key to selling or buying in the current market is buyers and sellers being realistic," she said.
Quotable Value data earlier this week showed Auckland property values have been shrinking at a 1.5 percent annual pace, but at an average $1,189,915 are still well above the $686,975 national average. QV noted downward pressure on Auckland prices. However, lower interest rates will likely support underlying demand.
Barfoot listed 1,192 new properties in April, down from the 1,358 new listings a year earlier. Barfoot had 4,684 properties on its book at the end of the month, down from 4,865 in March, but in line with the 4,675 properties it had a year earlier.
"While uncertainty around prices is affecting overall sales numbers, it is not having an undue effect on any one price segment," Barfoot said.
Of its 667 sales, 38 percent were for less than $750,000, 30 percent were between $750,000 and $1 million, and 32 percent were sold for more than $1 million.