Barfoots chief sees housing market lift approaching

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said today the Auckland residential property market signalled in April that sales activity may have bottomed and was ready to emerge from its 12-month price & sales hibernation.

“The sales figures contain a number of modest indications that confidence has returned,” he said.

“At $930,223, the average sales price was 1.4% higher than it was at the same time last year, with the average selling price having shown little movement over the past 12 months.

“At the same time the number of properties sold, at 731, was 10.1% higher than in April 2017, and sales numbers in the first 4 months of the year are 3.2% higher than for the comparative period last year.

“While there is no suggestion that prices are poised to start their upward climb, with prices no longer declining in comparison to 2017 the point has been reached where a further price decline is the least likely future outcome.

“In meeting the market price, buyers can have confidence that the chance of them being disadvantaged by future price volatility is low.

Mr Thompson said the median sale price continued to lag – at $830,000 for April, it was 0.8% below the average for the previous 3 months and 2.4% below the April 2017 median.

That led him to point to the makeup of a median. Rising prices have meant more sales in higher brackets, but shifts in sales at the top end can raise or lower the median far more quickly than the steady decline in lower-priced sales will achieve.

“In part this [fall in the median] can be attributed to sales of property in the $1 million & $2 million price category being down significantly in April compared to those for March (down close to 60%) while sales of homes for under $500,000 represented 9.8% of all sales.

“Most trading activity during the month occurred in the $500,000-1 million price category, with sales numbers accounting for 57% of all sales.

“New listings at 1358 for the month were strong, ensuring that buyer choice at month end of 4678 properties was the second highest they have been for 6 years.

“After an active March, the rural, lifestyle & commercial markets experienced slower activity in April. While buyers continued to show interest, they were selective. Demand remained strong for orchards, particularly for kiwifruit, in the north & far north.”

The Barfoot figures for April:

Related story today: Quiet times at 3 auction sessions – but one sale close to $15,000/m²

Attribution: Agency release.

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