Auckland home sales fell last month while the number of listings rose, suggesting the property market may be shaking off the worst of the slump, according to real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson (B&T).
The volume of sales in July fell 9.5% from June to 779 properties, B&T said in a statement. Sales jumped about 24% from the same month of 2008. New listings climbed 17% from June to 1,386 and the average price slipped 2.8% to $507,384.
"The housing market continues to hold onto its recent gains, although the level of turnover remains below average levels," says ASB economist Jane Turner.
"Potential sellers are now being tempted back in now the housing market is improving."
The figures from B&T, the largest real estate firm in Auckland, come after Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data last month showed the median house price nationwide climbed 0.7% to $340,000 in June and the length of time it took to sell dropped to 41 days from 42 in May.
Lower short-term mortgage rates and a pick up in net migration are expected to underpin demand in a market where sellers have stayed away in droves rather than offer their properties at what are perceived to be lower current prices.
The average rent was unchanged in July at $388 a week, according to B&T, while the number of properties let to tenants gained 7.5% to 790, matching the typically peak month of January.
"The market is showing no signs of giving up the gains made over the prices and sales volumes recorded last year," says B&T managing director Peter Thompson.
"Overall, July activity can be seen as a month which emphasised that Auckland housing has found a new base. People are feeling comfortable with current prices and trends."