Housing market on sellers' side

02:11, Aug 07 2012
house for sale
SELLERS' MARKET: House asking prices edged up in July.

House asking prices edged up last month as, despite buyers having more choice than this time last year, the market remains on the side of sellers.

Sales outstripped listings at a faster rate than the historical average, listings website realestate.co.nz said.

The website's latest property report shows 9411 new listings last month, slightly down on a seasonally adjusted basis but up 5 per cent year-on-year. Asking prices increased 1 per cent on June and are up 4 per cent year-on-year.

The national seasonally adjusted, mean asking price for the month was $429,181.

Realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm said the inventory level - the average number of weeks houses take to sell - had hit a four-year low in June but the steady pace of new listings last month had provided some relief for buyers.

"Recent months have placed some stress on the market for buyers, with the shortage of new listings along with higher numbers of sales placing the market's favour firmly in sellers' hands."

The 5 per cent growth in new listings year on year was well behind the year on year sales growth - which was over 18 per cent.

The inventory level was at 31 weeks, still well below the long term average of 40 - "but buyers do have some richer choices now".

House asking prices in the three main cities all increased last month on June, with the mean price tag in Canterbury setting a new record price - up a seasonally adjusted 0.9 per cent to $393,433 - for the third consecutive month.

The mean price in Wellington lifted 3.1 per cent to $442,590, and Auckland increased 3 per cent to $574,932.

Ten regions saw asking prices fall, with Northland and Nelson reporting drops of more than 10 per cent.

New listings fell in Wellington - by 7 per cent to 616 - and in Canterbury - by 4 per cent to 1129, but increased in Auckland - by 10 per cent to 3333.