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Barfoot sees slowest October home sales in at least 10 years

Barfoot sees slowest October home sales in at least 10 years
Barfoot and Thompson, Auckland's largest real estate agency group with around 40% of sales, has reported it handled just 503 sales in October, down 37% from the same month a year ago and down 10% from September. This was the slowest October in at least 10 years, it said. However it reported its average sale price rose 4.8% in October from September to NZ$520,039, although this was down 5% from October a year ago. Barfoot and Thompson also cited firm sales of high end properties of well over NZ$1 million, potentially dragging the average higher. "The market was impacted by the series of significant announcements relating to the fall out from the international credit crisis coupled with the normal pre-election hesitancy," said Barfoot and Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson. "The impact was clearly on volume rather than price," Thompson said. "There was an overall slowdown in the market during October, but we are hopeful that some of the uncertainty will be resolved by the general election this weekend. We would certainly be looking to the winning party to establish a Government as quickly as possible to provide some reassurance in the wider economy." Thompson said high end properties were achieving good prices, citing 27 sales between NZ$1 million and NZ$2 million and 3 sales between NZ$2 million and NZ$4 million. Overall these properties totalled around NZ$50 million out of the NZ$261 million handled by Barfoot and Thompson over the month. It said it let 691 properties in October, making it the busiest October for lettings in 6 years, although the average weekly rent fell to NZ$385 from NZ$388 a year ago. "The level of activity in the rentals area of our business suggests there is a group of potential buyers out there who are holding off at the moment and choosing to rent instead." What I think This is consistent with a continued slump in the housing market. I suspect the blip up in the average in October from September had more to do with the solid number of high end sales going through rather than a broad increase in prices. High end properties are still selling because the buyers are often using equity from previous homes rather than high borrowing. First home buyers and investors are well out of the market.  Your views? Comments below please  

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