The Auckland property market ended the year edging towards its first decline in prices for ten years.
“In the past few months the tide has turned towards it becoming a buyers’ market,” said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.
“The over-riding market sentiment at present is indecision as to the direction the market is heading.
“A range of factors contributed to market uncertainty at year end.
These included non New Zealand residents being restricted from buying certain categories of property,
the reported major decline of property prices in the major Australian cities, the potential for capital gains to be applied to investment properties in the future and concerns over world economic stability, in part caused by the trade friction between the United States and China.
“The sales data for December masks that trend but it shows up clearly in the year-on-year figures between 2018 and 2017.
“In December the point was reached where it was vendors that were prepared to meet the market who were achieving a sale while those holding out for their asking price were not.
“Overall, 2018 was a more active year for residential sales than 2017 with sales numbers year-on-year up 8.1 percent.
“However, the median price at $836,792 in 2018 was down 0.8 percent on that for 2017. This is the first time the median price has fallen below that for the previous year since 2008, the year the impact of the Global Financial Crisis affected house prices.
“The average 12-month sales price for 2018 at $929,910 is up on that for 2017, but by only 0.4 percent. Earlier in the year it was tracking between 1 and 2 percent above 2017’s average price.
“A stand out feature for me in 2018’s sales data was the significant increase in the number of sales made in the under $500,000 price category.
“In 2017 property sales in this price category represented 8.9 percent of our sales while in 2018 they had climbed to 11.4 percent of all sales.
“This increase can be linked directly to the higher number of apartments, terraced housing and town houses hitting the market, giving first time buyers and those on limited incomes far better access to property.
“New listings in December at 555 were in line with those last year, and at month end we had 4194 properties on our books, a similar number to those at the same time last year.
“It will ensure that we start the year’s trading with buyers being offered the highest level of choice for seven years.
“Rural and life style properties sales in December were modest. The life style market is price sensitive and active buyer interest was focused on property priced in line with where market sentiment is at present