Asking prices for new house sale listings rose slightly in July from June, as the market remained in favour of sellers, realestate.co.nz says.
The 1% monthly rise in average asking prices to NZ$429,181 continued a rising trend since mid-2010, CEO Alistair Helm said. Asking prices were up 4% from July last year, he said
Meanwhile, a "healthy influx" of new listings through July eased pressure on falling winter inventory levels. There were 9,411 new listings during the month, down 2% from June, but up 5% on July last year.
Inventory levels - a measure of the number of weeks of equivalent sales - rose to 31 weeks in July from 29.8 weeks in June. Levels were down from 35.7 weeks in July 2011.
Following June's record four year low for inventory, prompted by ongoing high demand for property, the influx of new listings kept pace with the previous month’s new listings, preventing a further drop, Helm said.
“Recent months have placed some stress on the market for buyers, with the shortage of new listings along with higher numbers of sales placing the market’s favour firmly in sellers’ hands,” he said.
“July was certainly not a bad month for buyers. June sales were down slightly from May, which has caused the inventory to lift back up to 31 weeks, but this is still well below the long term average of 40 weeks. Sellers still clearly have the upper hand, but buyers do have some richer choices now.”
The continued sellers’ market prompted the "slight, but not unexpected lift in asking prices." The average NZ$429,181 asking price was led this time by record highs for asking prices in Canterbury," Helm said.
“The clear signal from the July data was one of market stability, but whether that will persist remains to be seen. However, as winter winds down in the coming month, buyers and sellers will no doubt increase their activity in anticipation of spring, which may shift the balance again," he said.
New highs in Canterbury
There was a significant range of variances for asking prices across the 19 regions of the country, Helm said.
"The main 3 centres all showed [monthly] rises with Auckland reporting a 3% increase, marginally beaten by Wellington at 3.1%. Both of these centres though failed to set a new record high asking price - that was left to Canterbury which for the 3rd consecutive month set a new record at NZ$393,433, up 0.9% from June on a seasonally adjusted basis," he said.
"In total 9 regions reported asking price rises with the Coromandel the largest riser up 8.6% to $421,153. Of the 10 regions witnessing asking price falls on a seasonally adjusted basis there were 4 reporting greater than 5% with Northland and Nelson reporting over 10% falls, the latter seeing a 16.8% fall."