Auckland house prices stable in July, demand for affordable housing strong

The July median price was $810,000. Photo: John Sefton

Auckland house prices were stable in July but the number of sales lifted on the year with demand for lower priced property still strong, the city’s largest realtor said.

The July median price was $810,000, unchanged on the year and on the month, Barfoot & Thompson said in a statement. The average sale price fell 1.8 percent from June to $912,487 but was up 0.5 percent on the year. Sales volumes were 11 percent higher on the year but fell 8 percent on the month.

New Zealand’s heated housing market has shown signs of cooling after government policies to restrict the sale of homes and property to residential investors joined curbs on higher risk mortgages imposed by the central bank. However, limited supply and a steady influx of migrants means demand remains strong.

“July is traditionally when prices reach their low point for the calendar year, and with sales numbers holding up the signs are there that not only is the market weathering winter well, it is setting itself up to be active in the coming spring,” said Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.

According to Barfoot, homes for under $500,000 continued to be well represented in the sales figures, representing 9.8 percent of all sales.

It also pointed to strong interest in lifestyle and rural property sales, which were up 21 percent on the month with “solid sales of rural and lifestyle properties in the Swanson and Pukekohe areas.”

Strong interest in more affordable properties was also evident in data from Quotable Value earlier this week, with more demand in places like Hamilton and Wellington for the “lower to mid section of the market.”

According to Barfoot, sales of homes over $1 million represented 32 percent of all sales, with 4.1 percent achieving a sales price of more than $2 million.

Listings continued to tick lower, with new listings of 1,057 down 13 percent from June and 9.9 percent lower on the year, Barfoot said. The realtor said it had 4,115 properties available for sale at the end of the month, down 3.6 percent on June and 0.7 percent lower versus July last year.

ASB Bank economist Kim Mundy said that while sellers appear to be delaying putting their homes on the market “limited houses for sale are likely to provide some support for prices. However, there is a risk that activity cools further following the implementation of the ban on foreign buyers.”