The housing market may be in for a strong Spring season if new listings are any guide.
New listings of houses available for sale rose 9% in August from July in seasonally adjusted terms and were up 3% on August last year, according to data compiled by www.realestate.co.nz which accounts for about 95% of all listings by real estate agents in New Zealand.
The 10,120 new listings in August brought the total amount of inventory for sale to an average 36.7 weeks worth of sales, down from the long-term average of 41 weeks.
“The property market is now showing all the signs of gearing up for a much stronger Spring season than has been seen for a number of years,” says www.realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm.
“The market is very firmly parked as a sellers market with inventory levels at lows not seen since 2009.” Nationwide, 12 out of 19 regions now have inventory levels below the long-term average.
Asking prices are starting to edge higher too. The average asking price in August of $415,078 was up 3% on July and up 1% from three months ago. Helm puts this increase down to the traditional Spring trend, although this year “that seasonal rise is somewhat more significant.”
However, Christina Leung, an economist at ASB, says because this data has a reasonably short history, she therefore treats the seasonal patterns with some caution.
Leung highlights the fact Canterbury's new listings dipped 3.25 in August, driving the region's total housing inventory down 2.5% and that despite an 18.6% increase in new listings in Auckland, housing inventory rose only0.7%.
“House sales data for August has yet to be released, but these results suggest house sales increased in the region,” she says.
Overall, the data indicate growing tightness in the housing market nationwide and, together with the recent decline in the number of days it's taking to sell a house shown in the Real Estate Institute's data, does suggest the market is starting to turn in favour of sellers. “This is particularly the case for the Auckland housing market.”