REAL ESTATE

Housing market resilient, sales jump in February

Thursday 3 March 2011, 10:44AM
By Barfoot & Thompson
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Rents fall, but benchmark increases.

The resilience of the Auckland housing market showed up strongly in February, with sales volume increasing on January’s number by 9.9 percent to 619, and the average price increasing 1.2 percent to $521,887.

“In February, the average price and the number of homes sold were virtually the same as in February last year,” said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.

“The number of homes sold in the month is on a par with the number we have sold at this time of the year for the past four years, while the average price is the highest we have ever achieved for the month of February.

“Another positive factor is that during the last three weeks of February the number of sales agreements reached were higher than for the same three week period last year. You have to go back 12 months to find when this last occurred.

“It adds up to a housing market that, while turning over relatively modestly, is holding up price wise.”

Mr Thompson said a key factor that revived interest in the market in February was the return of new sellers.

“New listings at 1529 were close to what we would expect at this time of the year in a moderately active market.

“They were also up 70.6 percent on those for January, but that month’s new listings were exceptionally low and this comparative figure is somewhat misleading.”

Mr Thompson said sales, geographically across the region and in the various price segments, were consistent with regular patterns.

“The number of homes sold in the million dollar plus bracket were not a factor in house prices holding up in February, with sales in this category being consistent with the volume achieved last year.”

Mr Thompson said that at the end of February the company had 6053 homes on its books, 3.4 percent more than in January but down 3.1 percent on February last year.

“The key to the market continuing to turn over modestly is new listings. There is not a glut of homes on the market, there are buyers out there and there is competitive mortgage money available.

“What remains tight is choice.”

Rentals


The average weekly rent in February dropped by $14 to $402 from January’s all time high of $416.

“The fall in weekly rent was anticipated as the normal influx of people into Auckland over January eased,” said Mr Thompson.

“Even so, February’s average price is $12 above the average rent for this time last year, and the market has certainly settled at a new benchmark.”

During the month Barfoot & Thompson rented 817 properties, on a par with the same number as January and 112 more than in February last year.