By Bernard Hickey
Barfoot and Thompson, Auckland's largest real estate agency chain, has reported selling 994 houses in June, the highest sold in a June since 2007. The average price hit a record high and was up 13% from a year earlier, with the average price in the central suburbs of Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Grey Lynn, Epsom, Mt Eden, Remuera and Parnell rising 22% to NZ$705,850.
The volumes sold were down 15% from 1,165 sold in May, but up 13.8% from June a year earlier.
But Barfoot and Thompson said it had total listings on its books of 4,078 at the end of June, which was the lowest level in 7 years. This represents just 19 weeks of inventory and is close to inventory levels seen during the housing boom from 2003-08.
The average price achieved in June was a record high NZ$589,251, which was up 1.2% from May and up 13% from June a year ago. This was also 8.5% above the average price seen for all of 2011.
“While the market is active and prices are at an all-time high, properties that are selling way in excess of CV remain the exception," said Barfoot and Thompson CEO Wendy Alexander.
“For most properties, prices are edging up, and the average sales price in June was 3.2% above the average price in March, which is a modest increase over the three months given the tight supply of properties," Alexander said.
“Buyers are measured as to what they are prepared to pay, even though mortgage rates are low and the banks’ mortgage lending criteria are competitive," she said.
“What has changed is an increase in the number of buyers, and they are creating a demand that was not there 12 to 18 months ago. This increase is coming from a combination of people moving from renting to buying and growth in Auckland’s population. At the end of June we had 19.5% fewer properties on our books than in June last year and 14.4% less than at the start of the year.," she said.
“Demand is outstripping the availability of property.”
The average price in the Central Suburbs area rose 22% to NZ$705,850 from June a year earlier. The average price in the 12 months to June on 1,973 sales in the central suburbs was NZ$674,513, up 11% from the previous year. Eastern Suburbs prices actually fell to an average NZ$791,872 from NZ$797,862 in June a year earlier, while the average North Shore price rose 12.8% to NZ$637,571.
Average prices were flat to lower in Central Auckland (mostly apartments), Franklin/Manukau and Rodney. Prices rose in Pakuranga/Howick, South Auckland and West Auckland.