Auckland's property boom grinding to a halt

It's long been predicted, but the evidence is in: Auckland's property boom is grinding to a halt. 

One of the country's biggest real estate agents, Barfoot and Thompson, released its sales figures today - prices are down 3.1 percent in the last three months. 

Peter Thompson says they're seeing the "first real sign of house prices slightly falling".  

"Certainly the boom is well and truly over."

ANZ Chief Economist Cameron Bagrie says that in the last in the last six months, Auckland house prices are down 2-3 percent.

"If you look at the annual figure, they're still up. But with the more timely three to six months figures, there's definitely been a turning point across the Auckland property market.

And QV figures out today show 30-percent fewer homes have sold in year to June, compared to the year before. 

Andrea Rush from Quotable Value says that this time last year was the real peak of the market, "just before they said they were going to introduce the latest round of LVR restrictions". 

"And that's when things started slowing." 

In the last three months, house prices fell in Auckland East, South, Waitakere, Manukau-North West, and Papakura - as well as for apartments in the central city.

Buyers are holding back, says mortgage broker John Bolten. 

"They're just not buying, or they're buying slower. For first home buyers they're nervous about interest rates, and they're nervous about falling prices - because you don't want to catch a knife on the way down. " 

But the slow-down doesn't seem to be helping first home buyers get in. The share of sales to first timers in Auckland is at its lowest level in 20 years.  

Analysts we spoke to believe prices will be flat, or continue to slightly drop - during the next two years. 

But they say with population growth showing no sign of slowing - the world's 8th most liveable city is unlikely to see a price crash.