NZ houses for sale jump in August

MARIA SLADE
Last updated 09:35 01/09/2011

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Spring has come early to the New Zealand property market with a surge in new listings in August, website realestate.co.nz says.

However, high levels of sales are keeping inventory low, putting the ball in the seller's court.

The traditional spring burst of activity usually came in September but this year there was an earlier rush - with 10,120 new listings on the site in August, up from 8966 last month, chief executive Alastair Helm said.

This was a 3 per cent rise on the same time last year, and the first monthly increase since March.

At the same time, inventory levels dropped for the fifth month in a row due to high buyer demand. At the end of August there were 44,689 properties on the market, down from 45,674 in July and 50,138 a year ago.

The overall market was now pointed in favour of sellers, with 12 of the 19 regions of the country now below their long term average inventory levels, Helm said.

''It's a much more buoyant market we are seeing at the moment. The rate of sale is the highest it has been for 18 months. Interest rates are attractive so buyer confidence is healthy. This has led to more sellers entering the market, but demand is continuing to outstrip supply.''

The demand has led to Auckland recording its lowest level of inventory in four years.

There had also been a slight shift in the average national asking price, which had lifted back up to June's level of $415,000.

This suggested that while the market was in leaning in their favour, sellers were not over-confident on price expectations.

''While the end of winter is traditionally the signal for sellers to list their property, the levels we are seeing now should certainly be seen as a further green light for sellers who are considering entering the market.''

In Auckland, listings were up 16 per cent on the same time last year, while inventory was down 32 per cent. Waikato saw listings rise 21 per cent on last August, and inventory fall 37 per cent.

In Wellington, listings were down 4 per cent on last August, but inventory was also down 19 per cent, while  Canterbury listings fell 17 per cent and inventory was down 10 per cent.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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