By Amanda Morrall
Asking prices on residential property slid nationally last month to $423,832 from an earlier high of $429,865, with an accompanying lull in new listings challenging notions the country is headed back into bubble territory.
Realestate.co.nz's monthly housing report for April said despite heated market conditions in specific parts of the country, mainly Auckland where the asking price jumped from $559,369 in March to $568,820 in April, the market appears to be in a rebalancing mode.
Listing volumes coming onto the market in April were on par with the same time last year with 10 of the 19 regions seeing a fall. The decline in new listings was marked in Gisborne, Central Otago and Queenstown where volumes were down -63% and -48% respectively. Listings in Coromandel, Central North Island and Nelson were also down 20% from where they stood last April.
That contrasts with a 25% increase in the volumes of new listings recorded in Marlborough, Northland, Hawkes Bay, West Coast and Taranaki.
The overall picture from a regional view of listings supported the view, from realestate.co.nz, that the market was rebalancing.
Realestate.co.nz CEO Alister Helm said the more muted numbers for April also put splashed cold water on the contention that the New Zealand housing market was headed back into bubble territory.
He said while property sales were strong for the latest month's data, for March they did not show a seasonally adjusted increase.
"This indicates that the market would appear not to be diving headlong into a property bubble, but rather is seeing a steady turnover and pragmatic buying and selling in the main.''
Helm said a pull back in asking prices nationally reinforced that view, even in the face of Auckland's unabating price creep. For the third time in eight months, the city hit a new record high asking price of $568,820 in April.
Despite an anticipated slow down over the next three months, realestate.co.nz is forecasting an increase in asking prices as "demand flows through to vendor expectations.''
"Clearly there are pockets of the market where there is not quite this degree of balance."
The inventory of unsold homes, which saw a four year low in March, eased slightly in April.