More properties appear to be coming into the market, as a leading real estate company reports the highest number of new listings in eight years.
It comes as property prices continue to escalate. Latest data from CoreLogic indicates the national House Price Index rose 2.2 percent in just one month. Cheap borrowing, ex-pats returning home and the removal of LVR restrictions have all been cited as reasons for skyrocketing house prices, where demand exceeds supply.
Describing last month as "the busiest January in 17 years", Barfoot and Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said 1086 houses sold through his agency. He attributes the recent spike in sales to a flurry of homeowners putting properties on the market after Christmas.
"What made such a high turnover possible was the extraordinarily high level of new listings for the month...at 1378, it was the highest in January for eight years," Thompson said.
“The large influx of new listings was desperately needed as we started the year with only 2938 homes on our books."
Compared to the previous three-month average, the median price of homes sold by the agency in January was down 3 percent, at $975,000. The average price was down 2.2 percent, at $1,068,134.
But Thompson doesn't think house prices have peaked.
"Given the absence of many high-end buyers from the market over the holiday season, the average and median prices invariably dip between January and December," Thompson said.
"It's not until March that high-end property sales again start to have a greater influence on sales data."
In the same month, the agency sold 72 homes above $2 million and 63 lifestyle properties - more than the same month in previous years.
"At the end of the month, we had 3131 properties on our books.
"Compared to recent years this is relatively low but with so many buyers in the market we anticipate a steady flow of new listings in the next few months," Thompson said.
A survey carried out by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) and economist Tony Alexander in January indicates fear of missing out (FOMO) was stronger than in previous months.
"A net 90 percent of agents reported that they are seeing FOMO, up from 88 percent in both December and November," the report said.
However, the report's findings also showed a slight drop in attendance at open homes. A net 46 percent of real estate agents reported seeing more first-home buyers, down from 50 percent in December and 64 percent in November.
Requests for property appraisals were lower, with a net 22 percent of real estate agents surveyed reporting more requests, down from a net 26 percent in December and 33 percent in November.
Enquiries around changes to loan-to-value ratio (LVR) requirements and one-year fixed mortgage rates (now from 2.29 percent) were cited as as possible reasons why an earlier report showed mortgage advisers reported an increase in first-home buyer and investor presence and real estate agents reported a decrease.