Busy December drives Auckland house prices to new highs

Photo: Jaafar Alnasser Photgraphy

New Zealand – in particular, Auckland – has enjoyed a strong 2014, with sales and prices both increasing, despite a relatively low period of activity during September caused by the General Election.

Indeed, Christmas came early for one agent, as buyers caught up in the final quarter of the year, with Barfoot & Thompson reporting their busiest December in a decade.

Demand from buyers pushes sales up “significantly”, taking prices to all-time highs – and the number of listings to all-time lows.

“Even though December was the shortest selling month of the year we sold 1050 properties, our fourth busiest month of the year,” says Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot & Thompson. “Sales in December were 28.5 per cent higher than in December 2013.”

That demand drove the number of listings on the agent’s books down to 2,500, the lowest number for any month end in the past 10 years, adds Peter. The imbalance between demand and supply helped to push average sales prices up to $758,891, almost $2,000 higher than November’s average price.

The median price increased to $720,000 in December, the first time the figure has ever broken the $700,000 barrier.

“In the first quarter of this year, buyer choice will remain severely limited,” adds Thompson, of 2015.

“Although the year ended with record prices and sales activity, overall prices in 2014 rose slower than they did in 2013,” he continues. “The average price increased by 10.3 percent in 2014, compared to 11.1 percent in 2013 while the median price increased by 11.1 percent compared to 12.7 percent.”

Activity is being increasingly driven by the high and low ends of the market, he notes.

“In 2014 29.5 percent of all homes sold for under $500,000. A year earlier, 38.6 percent of all sales were in this price category. The same trend is found at the top end of the market, with sales of homes in the $1 million and above category in 2014 representing 17.2 percent of all sales. A year earlier it was 12.4 percent.”