Barfoot & Thompson has lowest number of houses for sale on its books in more than a decade

Barfoot & Thompson, Auckland's biggest real estate agent, says it sold 10% more properties in May this year than in May 2012, with the average price up slightly from April to $644,737.

The company, which accounts for about a third of Auckland house sales, said it sold 1,284 properties in May. That's 21% more than the 1,062 sold in April this year, and 10% more than the 1,165 in May last year. At 1,315, new listings were the lowest in four months, and down 14% on April.

“At the end of May we had 3,034 properties on our books, our lowest number in more than a decade. At current sales levels that represents only 8 to 9 weeks of stock," said Peter Thompson, Barfoot & Thompson's managing director.

“Auckland remains a market where there are too many people chasing too few properties, and until there is an increase in the number of properties buyers will remain frustrated at the limited choice available.” has tracked Barfoot & Thompson data since January 2001, which shows inventory has never been as low as it is now. The previous low - in that time period - was December last year at 3,410. Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said Barfoot & Thompson's number of available listings is now equivalent to 2.8 months worth of sales, the lowest ratio on record going back to 1998.

"The Auckland housing market remains remarkably tight, with available listings in May hitting their lowest on record," Gordon said. "This lack of supply is likely to be both constraining turnover and squeezing prices higher."

"We expect nationwide house prices to rise 9.5% this year, and a further 7.5% next year. Notably, the Reserve Bank's house price forecasts are not too dissimilar from ours. The point of difference is that the Reserve Bank expects the knock-on effects from house prices to household spending and inflation pressures to be more muted compared to past cycles. We're not convinced that this time will be different, and we maintain our view that higher interest rates will be needed from next year," Gordon added.

Central suburbs average sale price up 21% year-on-year

Barfoot & Thompson's May's average sales price of $644,737, was up $1,648 from April's $643,089, but $1,191 lower than March's record high of $645,928. For Auckland's central suburbs the average sale price rose $146,451, or 21%, from May 2012 to May 2013 to $848,892.

However, Thompson suggested upward price momentum that began in October last year had now stalled.

“While realistically priced properties still continue to sell almost as soon as they come on the market, there is resistance to going above current values," said Thompson. “Buyers can see value in the prices at which properties are currently changing hands, but they are not adopting a 'buy at any price' attitude."

Thompson suggested that; "Rather than experiencing runaway prices, the Auckland property market has come out of the other side of a period of price rebalancing caused by five years of modest price growth."

“May’s average price is 10.7% ahead of the average price in May last year. While some properties sell well above their CVs, they are the exception and there are often valid reasons for the price differential."

May's median sales price was $570,000, up $4,000 from April, but $10,000 below March.

During May Thompson said his firm sold 144 properties for more than $1 million and 519 properties for less than $500,000. See Barfoot & Thompson's full market analysis here.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.


Capital gains of 21% in 1 year for Central Suburbs?
Could be settling at these levels until summer arrives.

May's average sales price of $644,737, was up $1,648 from April's $643,089, but $1,191 lower than March's record high of $645,928.
Thompson suggested upward price momentum that began in October last year had stalled.
Hmmmm - along with many other crashing asset values it would seem the bottom is dropping out of all value measures of wealth determination -will nominal GDP growth confirm as much later this month.
Chorus limited  - down to much to count
NZD/USD currency pair - same again?
Japan - just straight up  armageddon?

Stephenthough doth protest too much, methinks.
There is this wee thing called seasonality.  On a seasonally adjusted basis house prices are actually slightly higher than in March.
I really don't understand your constant and ongoing oblivious statements of fact.
Nominal GDP growth this month will be positive.
Your comments on Japanese and NZD cross rates reflect you don't have a basis for understanding their movements so I won't bother.  Very irritating, your posts.

Stephenthough (sic) doth protest too much, methinks.
I think not - irritating or otherwise

Irritating and rather unhelpful.  There is a major supply problem in Auckland that needs action; people like Stephen seem to be saying, "do nothing, it will crash soon anyway".  If that idea takes root there will be inaction and prices will continue to sky rocket. 
Every major economic indicator points to Auckland house prices continue going up for years to come, it's not healthy to ignore this problem. 

Since when did a crash forecast itself? Reminds me of the old joke...Economists have forecast 9 out of the last 5 crashes

Let me know how helpful this behaviour has been when the time comes to reckoning who owes what to whom.
Read More
Others have noted NZ's overwhelming dependence on debt greater than our wealth to achieve your type of return outcome - every investment that grows greater than nominal GDP currently (2.33% P.A.) does so on the back of a ponzi scheme.  Read whole article 

Someone who only controls say 2mill$ of Central Auck property(res)
Has made $400,000 over the last year. (not including rents and deductions which are additional)
Can't say fairer than that.

Did they sell all their properties? Otherwise all they made was some net rental income or a tax rebate.

Sorry SK .... the banks through interest payments, insurance companies, councils through rates etc, maintenance people etc have made and BANKED the money in the last year.....if no sale of property were made,  there is no cash flow, just someone's (whoever that may be) perceived value of the property.....  
Good news for many though, as AKL property holds it's excessive valuations, you can borrow off the property, for other ventures that return more than 4% gross pa......

I'd still rather have 20% unrealised capital gain than an unrealised loss from buying those power shares.

Or Chorus, where accusations about improper management practices can only lead to more valuation dislocation. Read more - it's like a step back in time to the failed bad old days.
We need transparent, world standard regulation, not crony capitalism deals behind closed doors.
Service subscribers end up paying the mangement of these companies $millions in absolute terms and yet they manage to wipe that and much more off the public share value, while heroically imposing yesteryear ideology - we should pay them to stay at home.

Commercial yields v low also - why no stories on this?
Perhaps we should cash in our chips and move to Houston the promised land?

Ad in the top banner from Housing NZ is interesting;
5 year lease, guaranteed income 52 weeks adjusted to CPI annually - HNZ pay for all minor repairs (<$5K - such as new hot water cylinder, new oven etc).  Lease set at market rates, less 10% (but they manage the property and pay for these minor repairs within that).
Assuming inflation rises significantly in the next five years and RBNZ lowers interest rates and house price deflation kicks in as credit (and/or immigration) gets squeezed.. and the OBR kicks in - this looks like a potentially good place to park savings in comparison with a bank. 
I wonder also whether it is a bit of a negative to non-Housing NZ tenants as they presently have a big advantage in rent negotiations as the reliable payers and tenants that they are.  This type of guarantee by the Government on behalf of those who might be seen by the private rental market as less reliable does alter the market quite a bit, I suspect. 
Oops - just spotted, CPI rises capped at 3%. Less attractive now.

It's a long queue, too!
Turn on financial television or pick up a financially related magazine or newspaper and you will hear or read about what some stock analyst from some major Wall Street brokerage has to say about the markets or a particular company.   For the average person, and for most financial advisors, this information is taken as "fact" and is used as basis for portfolio investment decisions. Read more

Not sure what you're referring to Ostrich. Here's our article last month by David Hargreaves. It says B&T sold 1,062 houses -

It says they had 3467 on their books at the end of last month, have sold 1284 and had 1315 new listings. This would give 3498 properties yet there are only 3034 on their books. What happened to the other 464 listings?

Those 464 houses are the "drop out rate" - the houses taken off the market without being sold. It was 13% in May, down from 20%, or 724, in April.

Do the estate agents publicise the "drop out" rates?   Do they publicise how many houses are sold by auction?
It's just that I don't know anyone who has had a positive, blimey-I'm-rich experience in selling a house in Auckland.   I know loads of people.   I'd have thought I would have had one good news story by now from someone I know.

BC, we aren't aware of real estate agents publicising "drop out" rates. But there should be detail on auction sales around.

Thanks Gareth.
The reason why I am interested is that when residential sales were booming before, there were stories from people I knew that backed up that frantic activity. 
This time, the figures point to a similar level of activity - but I have yet to hear the stories with my own ears.   Someone I know went through the whole process recently in a prime Central Auckland location.   To say they were less-than-happy is an understatement.

gotta get the feng shui right

people will believe anything they are told .. the NZ domiciled branches of the AU banks have had 10 years to get ready .. and the AU banks have had these systems and procedures designed and in place and operating for those past 10 years .. and they sure as heck ain't gonna re-invent the wheel

BC a central Gz villa sold the other day at auction $1.95mil.  Was bought in June 2010 for $1.4.  minimal reno done.  3yrs $550k rise, theres a story

Thanks FYI.   There are lots of stories like that.   What I want is at least one person to say "I have just sold my house at auction and I am delighted at the outcome,  honestly, I'd recommend the process to anyone."   At around the last property boom, people were recommending agents and talking animatedly about the properties they had come across.    This isn't happening now.  Why?  

It's the most smoke and mirrors process you could invent!

Wouldn't drop outs represent listings that were subject to an "exclusive agency" agreement and if not sold at the expiry of the agreement the vendor goes off elsewhere?