House listings at record low, prices all-time high

The average cost of a house is at an all-time high but the number of listings has dropped to a record low.

Statistics from show that there were 7133 listings in December compared with 7606 a year ago, while the average asking price across the country is $660,798, up 3.8 percent from the same time in 2016. spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor says the Auckland market has become a buyers' one for the first time since 2011.

"Theoretically, if no new listings came onto the market in Auckland and all existing stock was sold, there would be no houses for sale in 24 weeks which has overtaken the long-term average - making it a buyers' market," she said.

"The average asking price is still increasing [up 2.7 percent] despite high levels of stock."

Ms Taylor says December is a low month on the housing charts, so it will be interesting to see if the trend for Auckland continues in 2018.

Elsewhere, Central Otago/Lakes has edged Auckland in the average price stakes, with the average price there now $984,719.

Areas which experienced the biggest asking price increases included Nelson & Bays (up 11.3 percent to $618,712), West Coast (up 8.7 percent to $265,396), Southland (up 6.3 percent to $309,174) and Wairarapa (up 5.4 percent to $429,488).

The biggest decreases in asking price were in the Central North Island (down 7.4 percent to $403,648) and Gisborne (down 4.7 percent to $287,928).

New listings were down overall nationwide, with 13 of the 19 regions experiencing a drop.

Auckland contributed significantly, with only 1908 new houses listed in December, down 7.8 percent on the previous December's 2070.

The biggest fall was in the Wairarapa, down by 32.9 percent to just 98 houses listed.

Another region with a significant new listings fall was Hawke's Bay, down 21.7 percent, with only 220 new properties put on the market last month.