Auckland house prices seen steady

Auckland's shortage of houses for sale is easing and house prices in the city will flatten this year, according the head of the city's biggest real estate agency.

Barfoot & Thompson said the number of properties on its books in February was the highest since March last year.

Sales at the agency in February were down 15 per cent, but the average house price remained steady at $678,533.

Managing director Peter Thompson said the rise in listings was due in part to a pickup in new house builds, and this would likely keep a lid on house prices as the year wore on.

A shortage of listings had "certainly" helped drive Auckland's soaring prices but over the last 12 months 11,000 building consents had been approved.

"And there's a lot more in the pipeline," Thompson said.

"I think we're going to see the market we've got at the current time for the next, say, four to five months, and basically prices will be much of a muchness."

Thompson's comments contrast with those earlier this week from industry website, which said stock levels and new listings were down in Auckland and across the country.

The website said new listings fell 5 per cent in Auckland in February compared to a year ago, pushing the average asking price in the city to a record $677,370, an increase of 12 per cent.

Asking prices are not the final sales price, and not usually disclosed to buyers, but they indicate whether vendors' price expectations are on the rise.

Thompson said's figures were correct, but it was working purely off listings and did not include actual sales.

Increased listings were good news for buyers because they had more choice, but it also tipped the balance of power away from Auckland sellers, "and that will ultimately affect prices".

"Sellers will have to make sure they price it right."

Fairfax Media