Barfoot home sales down but average price a record

Barfoot & Thompson said on Friday its average sale price for residential properties reached a record high of $944,574 in February while sales were at their lowest in 6 years and available choice was at its highest for 5 years.

The previous average sale price record, set last October, was $943,801.

Director of the real estate firm Kiri Barfoot said: “Experience has taught us to be cautious about reading too much into a single month’s trading results, particularly in February when a good portion of the sales relate to property negotiations that took place over the extended holiday break.

“What is clear from the results is that prices at the top end of the market were not under downward pressure, with the average sales price increasing by 2.6% on the average price for the previous 3 months. Compared to February 2016, the average price was 14.9% higher.

“Competition for properties around the $1 million mark was strong. In February, 187 – or a third of all sales – were for in excess of $1 million. Sales numbers for properties sold in excess of $750,000 were also in line with the numbers sold in 2016 & 2015.

“Conversely, sales under $750,000 were down a third on those for 2016 and under half those in 2015. The lower number of sales in the under-$750,000 price category brought the median price for the month down to $820,000, its lowest level since May 2016.

“The median price in the last 3 months has declined by 3.1% but remains 11.1% higher than it was 12 months ago.

“The number of new listings for February, at 2295, was our highest ever in a February and, combined with the low number of sales in the month, saw available listings at month end at 4546. The last time we had more listings on our books than this was in 2012. Based on buyer interest, this situation may be short-lived.

“At present, the market has divided around the $750,000 mark. Above this point sales numbers & prices remain consistent. Below it, uncertainty has developed as to whether asking prices represent value for money, and sales numbers have fallen.”

Barfoots’ figures in February (January & February 2016 in brackets):

Average price: $944,574 ($913,938, $822,024)
Median: $820,000 ($846,500, $738,000)
Sales: 556 (629, 698)
New listings: 2295 (1142, 2060)
Month-end available stock: 4546 (3620, 3318)

Attribution: Agency release.

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