Auckland house prices fall for first time in seven years

  • 05/12/2016
Auckland Houses (file)
Auckland Houses (file)

The average Auckland house price fell in November from a record high the previous month, according to realtor Barfoot & Thompson, which said the latest sales data signals a "turning" point after seven years of increases, but is well-positioned for a soft landing.

The average sales price in November fell 1.1 to $933,130, having reached a record high of $943,801 in October, Barfoot said in a statement. The median price fell 1.7 per cent to $850,000.

The Auckland figures come amid signs the housing market nationwide may be running out of steam.

Figures last week from Quotable Value showed the average value of a New Zealand home rose 12 per cent to $624,675 in November from a year earlier, the weakest annual growth rate since May.

The Reserve Bank said in its six-monthly financial stability report last week that house price inflation in Auckland had softened in recent months but the market is still at risk of a "significant" correction and the bank had asked Finance Minister Bill English to approve an additional macroprudential tool - a debt-to-income ratio restriction - that could be used "if housing market imbalances were to deteriorate further."

"Signs the rate of price increase has been slowing have been there for some months but November's sales data confirms that for the time being at least, Auckland prices have stopped rising," said Peter Thompson, Barfoot's managing director.

"What puts November's lower prices into context is that November and December are traditionally when prices peak for the year, and this is the first time in eight years that November's average and median sales prices have been below those for the previous October."

At the end of the month, Barfoot had 3,711 properties listed on its books, the highest since February 2013. Sales in the latest month were 947, up from 778 in October.

Sales of properties for more than $1 million amounted to 377 or about 40 per cent of total sales, while 73, or 7.7 per cent of those sold for less than $500,000.