Asking prices for houses fall 4.4%

Last updated 05:00 02/08/2011

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A continuing slide in new listings has turned Wellington's housing market into a seller's market, says property website Realestate.co.nz.

Average asking prices in Wellington fell 4.4 per cent to $413,000 in the past three months.

The number of new listings in Wellington was down 18 per cent on the same month last year and the Wellington area's inventory of houses for sale represented just 21 weeks of sales. Just three months ago that figure was over 26 weeks.

The national mean asking price in July was $403,000, nearly $11,000 lower than it was in May.

It reports that the number of new listings - 8966 in July - was 15 per cent below the number listed in July last year.

"Winter is traditionally a slow time for new listings, this year a 15 per cent year on year decline is making this felt more acutely right across the country.

"The stock of unsold houses in the market fell to 38 weeks of equivalent sales as compared to the long-term average of 41 weeks as a result of the lower level of new listings and the slow but steady rise in sales activity.

"In the space of just two months the regional picture of New Zealand has moved from a buyer's to a seller's market. In all but four of the 19 regions sellers now hold the upper hand.''

There was a shortage of new listings right around the country.

"The trend of falling inventory off the back of rising sales and shortages of new listings began a couple of months ago in Auckland and then spread out through the major metropolitan areas into provincial New Zealand.

The 45,674  unsold houses on the market in July was well below the long-term average and the strengthening of sales over the past three months was likely to see inventory levels continuing to fall with the approach of spring.

Average asking prices in Wairarapa fell 4.5 per cent to $260,000. However, they rose in the Central North Island (up 2.7 per cent to $344,000), Taranaki (up 2 per cent to $299,000) and Hawke's Bay (up 1.5 per cent to $325,000).

The biggest lift was in the Central Otago Lakes region, where listed prices rose 7.4 per cent to an average $582,000.

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- The Dominion Post

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