Auckland house prices increased in June, defying expectations

Auckland house prices defied expectations and increased last month.

Real estate company Barfoot & Thompson said the median price for houses it sold in June climbed 2 percent on May's numbers.

"No one saw that modest increase coming," said Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.

"The $1,147,500 median price stopped a three-month gradual decline in the median price and was 3.5 percent higher than the median price in June last year."

While the median price increased month-on-month, the average house price in Auckland for June declined.

"The average price, at $1,158,464, did decline on that for May by 2.6 percent but it also remained higher than the average price for June last year by 1.3 percent."

Thompson said that rather than seeing the median price increase minimally, it is more likely to be a "statistical blip" that can occur when comparing statistics on a month-by-month basis.

"It was not caused by any significant shift in the numbers of homes being sold in various price brackets, with the sales numbers in the $2 million and $3 million price segments remaining constant with the lower-priced categories," he said.

"It does signal that house prices are not in full retreat and are moving back gradually as vendors recognise that if they want to sell, they need to have some flexibility as to price expectations."

But Thompson said what did fall significantly in June was the number of homes sold. He said the 684 properties Barfoot & Thompson sold in June was down 12.5 percent on that for the previous month and 45 percent down on the same month last year.

"Sales of properties for the month were the lowest they have been in a June since 2010, when the market was recovering from what economists termed a 'technical recession'," Thompson said.

"As occurred in 2010, it is in the number of sales being made where the impact is being felt most.

"Rather than accept the prices on offer some homeowners are removing their homes from the market."

Thompson said this effect can be seen in the number of properties for sale at month-end. Although Barfoot & Thompson listed 1255 new properties during June - more than double the number they sold - total listings at the end of the month had fallen by 0.5 percent on the previous month to 4676.

"Trading in the rural and lifestyle markets to the north and south of Auckland was typical for mid-year, with sales of more than $74 million. This was 14 percent down on sales in May but 7 percent higher than in June last year," Thompson said.