The Auckland property market has made its slowest start to a year in more than a decade as the market hardens towards being a buyers’ market.
“The market has failed to gain any momentum since the holiday break. Sales numbers in February at 474 were the lowest in a month since December 2008, which was at the high point of the global financial crisis,” said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.
“In the first two months of the year, sales numbers at 1,127 are down 10.4 percent on what they were for the first two months of last year.
“While sales activity was limited it had only a minimal impact on the average sales price which, at $918,496, was down less than $9,000 (0.9 percent) on that for January and $1,000 (0.1 percent) less than that for February 2018.
“The change in the median sales price for the month at $801,000 was more marked, being down $26,500 (3.2 percent) on that for January and down $19,000 (2.3 percent) on that for February last year.
“Sale by auction remained the most common sales method, and across January and February two-thirds of all auctions resulted in sales – either under the hammer or by direct negotiation prior to or post auction.
“While sales figures for unconditional sales year-to-date are modest, in the last two weeks of February we sold more than 250 properties each week on a signed off basis (unconditional and conditional) which was 47.3 percent higher than in the first two weeks. It underlines that the pipeline of potential sales is beginning to build.
“The market is progressively hardening into a buyers’ market with a number of vendors preferring to take their property off the market when they cannot achieve their asking price.
“This trend can be seen in February’s data, during which we listed an additional 1,563 properties yet at month end we had 4,660 listings on our books, only a 7.5 percent increase on those for January.
“In February, sales of property in the $2 million price category represented 2.7 percent of total sales, sales between $1 and $2 million 27.8 percent of sales while sales in the under $500,000 price category represented 12.7 percent of sales.
"Sales of top end property tend to be lighter at the start of the year reflecting the low number of new listings over the holiday season. New listings in this price category start to show up in late February and early March.
“Sales numbers in the lifestyle and rural markets were also low in February. Signed up sales (yet to go unconditional) were stronger in the south of Auckland than in the north where vendors were more prepared to accept the prices on offer.