House asking prices hit new high

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 11:21 02/11/2012
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SKY HIGH: Asking prices for properties reach a new high as a surge of spring sellers hit the market.

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Asking prices for properties reached a new high in October, as a surge of new sellers hit the market.

A monthly report by industry website Realestate.co.nz says vendors displayed greater confidence last month, asking on average for a record price of $445,529 nationally.

Asking prices, which are usually higher than the final sale price, were up 4 per cent on the previous month and 5 per cent on a year ago.

Realestate.co.nz spokesman Paul Mackenzie said the market was seeing more activity and confidence that it had for several years.

Perhaps more significantly, there was a marked lift in listings, by 12 per cent nationally on the previous year.

In housing-short areas like Auckland and Canterbury, they were up 5.6 per cent and 8 per cent respectively and even in sluggish Wellington listings rose 18 per cent.

Mackenzie said the flush of listings indicated the market was rebalancing in Wellington and several provincial areas.

Inventory – the number of weeks taken to clear the backlog of properties on the market - remained stable nationally at 33 weeks but dropped markedly in several centres.

"The next data for November will be interesting to review as to the final flush of new listings coming on the market in spring," Mackenzie said. "November is traditionally one of the biggest listing months of the year."

Regionally, 12 of the survey's 19 regions were considered sellers' markets.

Strong demand in the main centres pushed Auckland's asking price up to a new high of $611,864, up 9 per cent on a year ago, and Canterbury's up by 13 per cent to $414,070.

Auckland's inventory dropped 35 per cent on a year ago and earthquake-hit Canterbury was down 10 per cent.

After months of little activity, Wellington's asking price rose 5 per cent on October last year to $450,105, as was Waikato's price to $367,533. Inventory in both centres was down sizably, by 15 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

The rise is asking prices is less than shown in soon-to-be-released Wellington City Council figures which have the average house value in Wellington rising 0.7 per cent to $550,000. Melrose saw the largest increase with the average price rising 4.9 per cent to $522,000. Central Wellington had the biggest loss with a 5.1 per cent decrease seeing the average price drop to $418,000.

Due to incorrect information supplied, an earlier version of this story said Auckland house listings were up 56 per cent. The correct figure (now showing) is 5.6 per cent.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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