Is the buyers’ market about to end?

Friday 1 May 2009

Data from the latest NZ Property Report from suggests the housing market may be turning from a buyers’ to a sellers’ market.

By Vicki Holder

The volume of listings dropped dramatically around the country by 34% in April compared to the same month last year. All areas showed a double digit, year on year decline with the exception of Nelson. But asking prices remained relatively stable, dropping only 1.7% nationally. In some areas, prices have started a strong movement upwards.

“This lower listing inventory which has been seen as a trend for over 12 months, matched to the recent awakening of sales in February and March, could mark the end of the buyers’ market which is how the property market has been typified over the past 18 months,” the report said.

Based on data compiled from asking prices and listings that come onto the websiste, the report says there’s no clear sign the market has entered into a sellers’ market with any consequential impact on prices. “But there has to be a point of inflection and that is a sense of where the market currently is.”

The biggest fall in listings was recorded in Northland, down 56%. Representing over a third of all sales listings, Auckland experienced a 34% decline of 1,689 listings compared to April 2008 and 1,369 compared to April 2007.

Across the regions, asking prices slipped with 12 regions reporting price declines, the largest in Marlborough at 9.8%. Six areas reported an increase in listing prices. The largest was on the West Coast with 22.4% growth to an asking price of $279,882. Prices also went up 13.4% in the Central North Island and 13.8% in Nelson.

There were just 405 new apartment listings in April, which is 37% down on the same month last year. The median asking price of $372,865 was down 15% from last month and 16% on last year.

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