Choice for buyers in the Auckland residential property market is declining, with properties for sale at their lowest number in seven months.
Barfoot & Thompson recorded 1,086 new listings in August and managing director Peter Thompson says excluding last December's figure, which is usually the quietest month of the year in the run-up to Christmas and the holiday season, the number of new listings was actually at an 18-month low.
"At the start of September we had 5,626 properties for sale, which is the lowest number for seven months."
Realestate.co.nz, which lists properties nationally, also recorded a drop in new listings last month, down a seasonally adjusted 10.9% from July, to 9,804. The number of unsold properties sitting on the market nationally stayed relatively stable compared to July, holding at 46.1 weeks' worth in August.
Thompson says during August B&T sold 637 properties, only seven fewer than in July and 28 less than June, so there has been a modest level of market activity.
"Sales have remained constant around the 650 level for three months," Thompson says.
"We are selling what we list, but throughout August there was a degree of uncertainty about the economy, compounded by the challenges to South Canterbury Finance, and which ultimately led to it being placed in receivership."
Thompson believes that once the coming personal tax cuts and GST changes come into force and as confidence in the economy improves, "we anticipate vendors will return to the market and prices and activity will show a modest lift as we move into summer".
The average sale price for August was $510,978, the lowest B&T has recorded in the past six months and 4% below August last year.
Thompson says despite "modest" activity in the market, there are still buyers out there hunting, with visitor numbers increasing to the company's website.
Rental activity remained strong in August, with the average weekly rent at $406 - $2 below July's average, but up $28 on August last year.
The number of properties rented last month was up 1.8% from August last year, at 728, but down 6.1% on July, which is traditionally one of the two ‘high' months of the year (the other being January).