The property market is beginning to show signs of renewed activity with the average asking price for a home at its highest level in four years, according to the Realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report.
The report found the asking price for new property listings rose by a seasonally adjusted 2% in April to $429,249, just ahead of the previous high point in October 2007.
However, the focus is very much on Auckland and nationwide inventory levels remain high.
"The NZ property market certainly is showing signs of renewed activity, far from the levels of the mid 2000's the current activity is measured and very much centred on the Auckland region," the report said.
"Whilst in overall terms the level of inventory weighs heavy on all regions the level of sales reported in March show that buyers are certainly back in the market and beginning to clear some of this high inventory."
The inventory of unsold homes also moved higher in April, with the slow start to the year in sales volumes impacting stock clearance rates. Total inventory stands at over 53 weeks, some of the highest levels recorded.
Auckland was the only region to see a significant fall in inventory, matched to a 17% year-on-year fall in new listings.
Nationwide new listings fell by a seasonally adjusted 7% between March and April, with just 10,181 new properties on the market. This represents a 17% year-on-year decline and an 8% seasonally adjusted fall from March.
In the major centres Auckland saw the truncated mean asking price climb 1% from March to $555,572, while new listings fell 18% to 3,325.
In the capital the asking price remained flat, falling from the March figure of $453,021 to $451,440.
The number of new listings fell 36% from 1,166 in March to 741 in April.
Nationwide, the national asking price of $429,249 is a new peak and was mirrored across most of the country, with significant growth in all but two regions.
The highest rising region was Otago, which with a 12.5% increase to $298,817 has itself hit a new peak of asking price.
The regions that saw falls, Bay of Plenty and Central North Island, were off 3% and 7.5% respectively, though both had seen strong asking prices through the latter part of 2010 and into early 2011.
Across the country, the picture for new listings "continues to show that there is weakness in bringing new properties to the market,", with 13 of 19 regions seeing listings down on the year earlier and six reporting falls of more than 20%.
Realestate.co.nz also said the market amongst sellers is not showing signs of being impacted by inventory levels.
"As a function of such seller confidence the national truncated mean asking price has risen in April to a new record high of recorded stats going back to the start of 2007. As a further indicator to the market, the levels of new listings continue to track well below prior year. In fact we have seen 10 consecutive months of falls in listings numbers year on year."