House sellers have high expectations

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 13:16 13/06/2014

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House sellers' price expectations remain close to all-time highs, industry website realestate.co.nz says.

The national average asking price for a house last month was $483,524, just below the record $484,263 set in March.

Auckland average prices were flat at $685,246, also close to the record.

In Wellington, vendors were asking an average of $453,850, down 2.2 per cent on April, and Canterbury was up 2.5 per cent to $442,784.

Asking prices are still higher than the national median sales price, which in April was $432,250, the Real Estate Institute says.

Infometrics economist Gareth Kiernan said economists tended to prefer the final sale price when crunching housing figures.

"I guess in terms of trying to interpret these asking prices we tend to look at them relative to what the actual sales price ends up being."

In a strong market, the final price could be above the asking price, but in a weaker market it was often below, he said.

However, recent sales figures from leading Auckland real estate agency Barfoot & Thompson showed that listing numbers were drifting up; a good sign for buyers, given the shortage of houses in some regions, Kiernan said.

Paul McKenzie, marketing manager at realestate.co.nz, said his firm was seeing a steady recovery in the stock of houses for sale from historic lows set last August.

There were now more than 40,000 houses for sale, and 10,745 new listings last month, which was 5 per cent higher than in April, although they were at similar levels to May last year.

Waikato was one of the exceptions, with a 19 per cent fall in new listings compared to a year ago.

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