Auckland house prices hit new record in December

Auckland’s average house sale price rose to an all-time record in December, new figures show.

According to Auckland-based real estate agency Barfoot & Thompson, the median price of a home sold in Auckland increased 14 per cent to NZ$720,000 in December from a year earlier – the first time the average sale price in the region has exceeded NZ$700,000 in the month of December, the agency says.

The city’s largest estate agency also revealed that house sales climbed 28.5 per cent in December from a year earlier.

“It was our busiest December in the last 10 years with demand never being higher, or choice lower,” Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said in a statement. “Even though December was the shortest selling month of the year we sold 1,050 properties, our fourth busiest month of the year.”

However, the agency had less than two months’ worth of stock on its books by the end of December, indicating that in the first quarter of this year, buyer choice will remain “severely limited” and prices will likely rise.

In the 2014 year, more houses had sold in higher price ranges while activity fell in the lower priced segments of the market, following the Reserve Bank introduction of loan-to-value ratio limits from October 2013, limiting high debt mortgage borrowing.

Over the year, 29.5 per cent of all Auckland homes sold for less than NZ$500,000, down from 38.6 per cent of all sales in 2013. Meantime, some 17.2 per cent of 2014 sales were above NZ$1 million, up by 12.4 percent compared to 2013.