Wellington, May 5 NZPA - Real estate company Barfoot & Thompson is reporting a big fall in Auckland residential property sales in April from March, but says the decline is a traditional pattern.
The company's 671 sales last month was 27.6 percent lower than the March figure, while the average price slipped less than 1 percent to $541,486. At that level the average price was more than $38,000 higher than in April 2009.
"The combination of falling sales numbers and stable prices is common for April, and those familiar with traditional Auckland trading patterns will read nothing significant into this month's trading," Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said today.
Investors waiting for direction from the May 20 budget might be having a modest impact on sales, with the market being driven for now by home buyers.
Last month's 1312 new listings were "solid", and although down 21.5 percent on those for March, were 12.2 percent ahead of April last year, Mr Thompson said.
The company also let 668 rentals in April at an average weekly rent of $398, while the $396 average weekly rent for the past three months was $6 above April 2009.
Goldman Sachs JBWere economist Philip Borkin said the market was in a holding pattern ahead of the budget.
The period after the budget could see a relief rally in activity and an unleashing of some pent-up demand, but it would be interesting to see how the market coped if the Reserve Bank started lifting interest rates.
While actual sales fell in April from March, on a seasonally adjusted basis there was a rise of 6.4 percent from the previous month, although year-on-year sales were down 17.2 percent, Mr Borkin said.
Sales activity was still around 11 percent below the turnover level at the end of 2009, but the volume of sales had slowly ground higher during the past few months.
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