By Bernard Hickey
Auckland's largest real estate agency group, Barfoot and Thompson, has reported generally flat sales and prices in August from July, saying buyers and sellers remain in a standoff.
Barfoot and Thompson, which is the first agency chain to report sales figures for August, said it handled 758 sales in August at an average sale price of NZ$531,042. This volume was down from 778 sales at an average NZ$530,191 in July.
Sales volumes were up 18.9% from 637 in August a year ago and the average price was up 3.9% from the average NZ$510,978 in August a year ago.
Barfoot and Thompson Managing Director Peter Thompson said the average selling price had not varied by more than NZ$10,000 in the last 4 months.
“This is unusual in terms of price movements, and shows just how stable property values are at present," Thompson said.
“Normally the market is weighted to either buyers or sellers. It is not common for it to be balanced like this for such a long time. There are eager buyers, and in historical terms not that many homes are for sale, but this is not affecting the prices on which buyers and sellers are reaching agreement," he said.
“Buyers are not prepared to go beyond what they believe a property is worth, while sellers are not accepting what they consider unrealistic offers."
Thompson said new listings rose 22.1% in August to 1,282 from July.
"Given the approach of Spring,and the historically low level of new listings in July, this does not represent a major leap in new listings," he said.
“The overriding sentiment of buyers and sellers is one of taking a realistic view of the state of the economy, and applying that to their decision making. Overall, this year we are selling between10 percent to15 percent more homes than last year, with modest increases in prices," he said.
Thompson said that the arrival of Spring normally led to more activity in the housing market and he anticipated listings to continue to increase with moderately higher sales volumes.
(Updated with more comments, detail, chart below)
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