Buyers are increasingly gaining the upper hand in the Auckland housing market as the number of homes listed for sale in the region hit its highest level for the month of May in the last five years.
Property website Realestate.co.nz said it had a total of 8622 Auckland residential properties available for sale at the end of May, compared to just 5718 at the end of May last year, a 51% increase.
It was the most properties Realestate.co.nz has had listed as available for sale in the month of May for the last five years (see table below).
The increase in stock available for sale in Auckland comes as the number of homes being listed in Auckland rises, but the number of homes being sold each month falls.
Realestate.co.nz received 3690 new listings of homes for sale in May, compared to 3544 in April and 3422 in May last year, giving an increase of 7.8% compared to a year earlier.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's sales figures for May are not available yet, but the their April sales figures were down 31% compared to April last year.
That combination of rising listings, lower sales volumes and more properties on the market is pushing the pendulum more and more in favour of buyers as we head into winter, traditionally a quieter part of the year for sales anyway.
"We first saw an increase in Auckland housing stock in August 2016, which was the beginning of the slowing of this market," Realestatate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Taylor said.
"The cumulative effect means that potential buyers are more likely to be able to find a house they want, with more choices on offer and less competitive pressure that we saw in 2016."
There are also tentative signs that the turnaround in the Auckland market could be starting to spread to other regions that have until recently been very buoyant, such as Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wellington, where inventory levels in May were also above those in May last year, although they are still low by historical standards (see table below).
Of the main centres, supply remains tightest in Otago, with the number of homes available for sale in the region at very low levels compared to previous years.
Realestate.co.nz has also recorded a drop in buyer interest in several regions, with the biggest fall occurring in Auckland.
The average number of views per property on the website was down 28.7% for Auckland properties in the three months to the end of May compared to the same period of last year.
That was followed by Wellington -14.1%, Waikato -13.3%, and Bay of Plenty -8.7%.