House sales down 23% in June from year ago, Barfoots reports

House sales down 23% in June from year ago, Barfoots reports

Auckland's largest real estate agency group, Barfoot and Thompson, has reported house sales volumes fell to 665 and the average price fell to NZ$523,058 in June as uncertainty after the budget and the usual winter slowdown hit volumes.

(Updated with comments from ASB economist Jane Turner about a 15% seasonally adjusted fall in volumes and her outlook for falling house prices)

Volumes were down 23% from 861 in June a year ago and down 16% from May, while the average price was down 3.6% from May and up 0.25% from June a year ago.

The Barfoot and Thompson figures for New Zealand's largest real estate market are the earliest indication of how the market went in June. The next most up to date indications nationally will come from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and Quoteable Value.

"While the budget has definitely contributed to lower sales, its impact on prices has not been great, and there is no indication that investors are getting out of the market," said Barfoot and Thompson Chief Executive Wendy Alexander.

“Factors that confirm this are the average price in June is the same as that for June last year, while the number of new listings, at 1194 for the month, is down 12.8% on those for May and the same as for June last year," Alexander said.

“If investors were getting out, listings would be up and prices would be under more pressure than they are. It adds up to a market that is uncertain, and many people are putting off making decisions."

Alexander said the average house price had moved in a band between NZ$505,000 and NZ$545,000 since the start of the year.

"It is unlikely there will be any significant changes in the ‘steady as she goes’ state of the market before the return of the warmer weather in September," she said.

Barfoot & Thompson said it had 5,794 properties on its books at the beginning of July, 229 fewer than on June 1 and 237 more than on July 1, 2009.

Rents rise

Barfoot and Thompson said the average weekly rent had increased NZ$5 to NZ$403 in June from May, which it said was the highest weekly average for eight months and up NZ$15 from the same time a year ago. “Rents are edging up at a time of the year when they tend to trend downwards,” said Alexander.

“Landlords are anticipating they will be facing higher costs, and they are looking to recover some of those increases through higher rents," she said. “At this time last year the average weekly rent was NZ$15 lower.”

Barfoot & Thompson said it rented out 690 properties in June, up 6.3% from May.

ASB economist Jane Turner said the figures showed a 15% fall in seasonally adjusted Auckland house sales in June and a 5% fall in seasonally adjusted listings. She also noted the slight increase in rents.

"Recent anecdotes suggest landlords intend to increase rents in reaction to tax changes in Budget 2010. However, the ability to increase rents may be limited by prospective tenants’ ability to pay given the weakness in wage growth over the past year," she said.

"Housing market activity is likely to remain very weak throughout the remainder of 2010, reflecting waning demand. Tax changes around depreciation rules have reduced the attractiveness of holding investment property at the margin. In addition, slowing net migration and rising interest rates will also reduce support for housing demand over the year," Turner said.

"Given the weakening fundamentals we expect to see house prices decline slightly this year. However, the low level of supply, as indicated by weak consent issuance and the low level of new listings, will limit the degree of downside pressure on house prices."

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Here we go. Fresh from the Department of Building and Housing, which are measured from bond lodgings.

These charts show rents have been stable nationally since January 2008.


To all

I try to control my tendencies towards dictatorship and allow a free-flowing discussion for all.

But I also want to foster a friendly community that allows a robust debate without personal abuse and/or inane comments.

What are your (plural) thoughts?

Should we ban 'The Man' and 'Rich PI Troll'?

I'm willing to listen to the community here.

That doesn't mean the majority wins. I'd just like to hear a few different voices.

We don't have a strict policy. But I would prefer comments are considered, not inane, personally abusive or pointless.

Also to 'The Man' and Rich PI Troll. What are your thoughts?

Would you like to stay? Do you think we're asking too much?


Rich PI Troll

Many thanks for the reply, which I appreciate.

I have banned 'The Man', but not yourself.


i really don't want to put my rents up, and i know it's not always good for business to have them lower than they could be set at.

i think at the end of the day my tenants know i look after them as best i can without sucking them dry. I have had numerous tenants leave to buy their own home, so my rents don't exactly leave them penniless, so, with regret rents will go up, something i don't usually do to existing tenants as i believe in loyalty

BUT i will have no shortage of letters to get the correct "script" about passing on expenses to the end customer - i just have to look at telecom, mercury energy, property insurance, rates, health insurance, vehicle registration etc and they all want me to pay for their new expenses getting their product to me so the same in theory should apply to a rental.

i will be going 10% more now and another 10 % in the following review to spread the pain - and 20% increase on the rents will look good to, especially in the valuation...

and i am starting to think about exit strategy for year 2023 - about two more cycles away

yes i know what you mean but we are already deep into a cycle at the moment, i am talking about two more upward legs of the cycle, and by 2023 it will have had time for two upswings by then - and i will also be wanting to enjoy more retirement lifestyle choices by then so start planning now...

because i speak my truth and my opinions are of value - so it was a matter of urgent national security to get site access to let people know Bernard is a marvelous man, but that the likes of me totally oppose pretty much everything he has to say regarding a long term decline in property - in fact, asides from the government, he would be next on my list of "who i don't want telling me what to do with my own money list" and there is 100% certainty he would never be my Power of Attorney ... he already would have lost me a small fortune...

and because i was getting spam filtered to death and asked for a solution - and i didn't want the good folk of New Zealand to think i had gone all quiet and to let them know i there is currently no alternative to property for me and so too for many others interested in the return of their money rather than the returns on their money

i think you will find i am actually quite relaxed and secure, thanks to my interest in property...



i too was getting the blues on but i value your style of contribution - please do not go...


Many thanks. We are working very hard on a technical solution to ensure logins, emails and an edit function for commenters.

The level of urgency is very high and I'm a tad frustrated.

We'd love you back once these issues are sorted.