NZ property listings down in May

The number of new property listings declined for the third month in a row, with listings in May dropping a further five per cent on April, according to the property website

The website's monthly NZ Property Report showed only 9,993 new listings were added to the market in May, 29 per cent down on the same figure for May 2008, said Chief Executive Alistair Helm.

The asking price for new property listings of $NZ401,196 was down one per cent on the previous month and down six per cent from the market's peak in October 2007.

The figures showed the market was reaching a healthier state. It was dormant for most of 2008 when there were a lot of properties just sitting on the market, Mr Helm said.

The prices were softening rather collapsing, he said.

"The drop in new listings in May has led to the available stock of properties on the market falling to an inventory level of only 35 weeks, down from April's level of 42 weeks, and May 2008's level of 45 weeks," Mr Helm said.

The inventory level measures how long it would take to sell all the properties on the market at the current selling rate.

Last month's 35 week level compared to an average inventory over the past two and a half years of 38 weeks, during which time the level fluctuated between a low of 20 weeks and a peak of 52 weeks.

A level of 28 weeks in inventory was an indicator of a threshold between a buyer and seller market, with fewer than 28 weeks considered to be more amenable to sellers, while more than 28 weeks favoured buyers.

"The trend highlighted in last month's NZ Property Report – a significant fall in listings pointing to a turning point in the market – continues to be a theme demonstrated in today's report," Mr Helm said.

In the Coromandel region, the high number of listings contributed to the biggest drop in asking price across the country, a fall of 7.4 per cent on the previous three month average. In addition, Coromandel recorded the highest inventory level in the country, equivalent to 182 weeks, or more than three years of listings.

Other regions with high inventory included Northland, Central Otago/Lakes and West Coast, which all recorded more than 100 weeks.

At the other extreme, regions in which the balance still favours sellers included Wellington (16 weeks of inventory), Taranaki (20 weeks), and Nelson (23 weeks) which also recorded the smallest drop in new listings.