Are Auckland house prices levelling off?

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 12:43 05/07/2013

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There is more evidence that fast-paced Auckland property prices might be starting to level off.

Real estate agency Harcourts' monthly figures show a "slight plateau" in its average Auckland sales price for June at $633,554.

Although that was up 2.45 per cent on June last year, the pace was slowing, Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan said.

"This presents perhaps a sign of hope for investors and first-home buyers who have been feeling frustrated by the climbing market," he said.

The city's largest agency, Barfoot & Thompson, reported this week that house-price increases were calming down.

Prices had moved in a narrow band for the past three months and its average June house price was only 1.8 per cent ahead of May at $649,945.

One possible reason for this is the lack of listings reported by both agencies, constraining buyers' choices.

Harcourts said that while new listings with its Auckland and Northland branches were up, the overall number of listings on its books was down nearly 22 per cent on the same time last year, "demonstrating demand is still vastly outstripping supply".

Barfoots said its overall listings in Auckland were down 30 per cent on the same time last year.

Westpac economist Michael Gordon said winter had to be factored into the city's slowing prices, and he was not convinced they were plateauing.

"The bottom line is you've got prices up more than 10 per cent on the same time last year. That doesn't seem to me like the trend is slowing," he said.

"It still feels like a market where demand is outstripping supply and prices are still going up."

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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