Auckland's biggest real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson says its listings in July fell to an all-time low, despite a big rise in new listings during the month.
The median price fell by NZ$5000 to NZ$585,000, while the average house price rose to NZ$654,379, an increase of over $4,000 on June’s average price.
Barfoot & Thompson is much Auckland's largest real estate firm, accounting for around 40% of sales.
During July the company saw a 37% increase in listings compared with the same month ago and had its second best month for new listings in 2013. But it also had its best July for sales since 2005.
Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the 17% increase in new listings during July relieved "some of" the recent constraint on sales growth.
"Even so, the total number of listings continues to dwindle, which points to an ongoing upward squeeze on prices," he said.
July sales rose nearly 6% in seasonally adjusted terms, he said.
"The number of sales was the highest so far this year, though they were still slightly below the peaks seen in late 2012."
Gordon said while the jump in listings during the month was "notable" this was arguably a catch-up after two months of below-trend listings.
"The additional supply seems to have been more than fully absorbed by demand, with the total number of available listings running down to yet another record low," Gordon said.
"Figures provided by Realestate.co.nz show that listings are declining in almost every region of the country. The nationwide stock of unsold homes in July was down 14% on a year ago, with Auckland seeing the most rapid decline (down 28%). The average sale price was broadly flat in July. However, the annual growth rate rose slightly from 10.3% to 10.6%."
The 1133 sales during the month by B&T - an increase of 7% on the June figures - saw overall available listings drop to just 2837, which is the lowest ever for the firm and down some 29% on the number of houses it had available at the same time last year.
It was the fifth month in a row that B&T has topped 1000 sales - and managing director Peter Thompson said the the last time sales were this "consistently high" was in the first half of 2004.
“Competition for properties in Auckland remains strong, but the sales figures indicate that buyers have a keen sense of a property’s value and are keeping a level head when it comes to prices."
During July Barfoot & Thompson sold 439 homes for less than NZ$500,000, and a further 356 for between NZ$500,000 and NZ$750,000. A total of 152 homes sold for in excess of NZ$1 million, eight more than were sold in June.
However, the overall heat in the market has been causing the Reserve Bank concern and it has been making noise about potentially putting "speed limits" on high loan to value loans. See here for articles on LVRs.