By Bernard Hickey
Listings on Realestate.co.nz surged a seasonally adjusted 16% to 11,544 in May as sellers jumped to try to take advantage of a pickup in activity and prices.
Asking prices rose 4% in seasonally adjusted terms in May to a record high of around NZ$435,887, while the level of inventory nationally rose to 35.7 weeks worth of sales from 33.7 weeks the previous month, although it remains below its long term average of 41 weeks.
Inventory levels in Auckland and Christchurch remained well below their long term averages as supply shortages continued to combine with solid demand and record low interest rates to stir up demand.
Realestate.co.nz CEO Alistair Helm said confident sellers were finally responding to an ongoing shortage of listings in the face of high demand.
“The state of the overall property market, for the past six months at least, has been a growing shortage of supply in spite of on-going high demand. Sellers seem to have finally heard the message, producing this unseasonal lift, and responded with confidence reflected in their price expectation," Helm said.
This demand produced the lowest levels of inventory recorded in Auckland in the past five years - 20.6 weeks for Auckland and 20.8 weeks for Canterbury.
“Some balancing of the market is clearly occurring, with several provincial regions moving away from being sellers' markets. However, sellers in the main centres are overturning the myth that winter is the wrong time of year to try and sell a house. Market demand is still high and shows no signs of easing over the coming months," Helm said.