The Auckland housing market finished the 2011 year strongly, with the average December selling price climbing to $573,071, up 1 percent or more than $5500 on November’s average price, and the second highest average sales price for the year.
Sales numbers at 714 also reached their highest level in a December for five years, and were more than a third higher than in December last year.
“December was extremely active, and it has given early momentum to January’s market,” said Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson.
“In part, the strong finish to the year was assisted by there being three full weeks of trading leading up to Christmas.
“Although December was an excellent sales month, overall the Auckland market remains restrained.
“House prices are increasing only modestly, with the difference between the average price achieved for all of 2011 at $543,124 being 2.5 percent higher than for the 2010 year.
“While buyer interest is high, they remain realistic as to the price they are prepared to pay.
“At the same time the number of homes being listed for sale remained low.
“December’s new listings at 846 followed the normal seasonal pattern of being low compared to previous months, but the average number of new listings each month for the 12 months was 1220 - the lowest average number for more than a decade and 7.7 percent lower than for 2010.
“We also finished December with only 4583 homes on our books, the lowest number at a month’s end for four and a half years, and 1282 fewer homes than at the same time last year.
“For the first quarter of this year the Auckland housing market is likely to follow a similar pattern to that experienced last year, with prices increasing modestly and choice remaining limited.
“Further out prospects for a more active market are positive.
“The population of Auckland is growing and new house starts remain low, leading to the city facing a major shortage of accommodation.
“As the national economy improves, and people become more confident in their personal financial situation, they will act on their housing plans, and this will lead to the market becoming more active.”