New Zealand Property Investors' Federation

The NZPIF is the umbrella body for 17 local Property Investors' Associations throughout New Zealand.

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Listings hit 11-month high in Auckland

Listings in Auckland reached an 11-month high in February and the average sales price reached a historical high for the month, according to Barfoot & Thompson.

Last month, there were 1,714 new listings for Barfoot & Thompson, the city's largest real estate firm, taking the total number of homes on the firm's books to 6,247, the highest level since March last year.

Auckland house prices rose 3.2% to $521,323 last month from January and were up 1.7% from the same month in 2009. The historically high price for the month of February also bucked the trend of the past couple of years, which has seen the average February price between $10,000 and $20,000 below the average for the previous year.

"While a seasonal uplift was expected [in February] as people returned from the summer break, an average February price close to that for the average of the previous year (2009 yearly average: $522,297) has never occured previously," said managing director Peter Thompson.

The firm boosted the number of sales 7.4% to 626 from January, and it was up 12% from February 2009. Still, that leaves 544 properties that were either sold by another real estate agency or taken off the market.

"The main driver of buying activity remains owner occupiers, either trading up or moving into the Auckland area, and for these people, concerns about any changes in government policy around housing or any modest interest rate increase are not major deterrents," Thompson said.

Nationally, house sales fell to close to 20-year lows in January as uncertainty over property tax changes and historically high unemployment dented people's confidence in the market after its revival last year underpinned the economy's recovery.

Thompson hinted high property prices may be a thing of the past, saying the "balanced state of the market" meant sellers need to ensure they sell at an appropriate price.

The real estate agency's property management division recorded a 2.7% fall in average weekly rentals to $390.