Barfoot & Thompson says the Auckland housing market is changing as sales fall to their lowest level since 2008 and the median price rolls back to where it was in August last year

April saw a big drop in both the volume of homes sold by Barfoot & Thompson and in median and average prices, which tumbled by around $50,000.

Barfoot, which is Auckland’s largest real estate agency by a substantial margin, sold just 664 residential properties last month, compared to 1110 in March and 944 in April last year. That means year-on-year, sales fell 280, or 30%.

It was the lowest number of sales the company has made in the month of April since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

Prices also took a a tumble, with the median price dropping back by exactly $50,000, or 5.6%, to $850,000 after hitting and all time high of $900,000 in March.

The average price fell $51,491 to $917,079 after hitting its all time high of $968,570 in March.

That puts the median price back to where it was in August last year and the average price back to within a couple of thousand dollars of where it was in September.

Listings down too

There was also a drop off in the number of new listings the agency received in April, with 1292 additional properties being signed up for sale compared to 1983 in March and 1496 in April last year.

It was the lowest number of new listings the company has received in April since 2012.

Inventory levels (the total number of homes available for sale through the agency) also dropped, with 4214 residential properties available for sale at the end of April, compared with 4413 at the end of March.

But the April inventory levels were well up on the 2846 properties the company had on its books at the end of April last year, and it was at its highest level for the month of April since 2012.

Market ‘changing’

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said the market was changing.

“It is a changed market from what we have been experiencing for a number of years and you have to go back nine years to find an April in which fewer homes were sold,” he said.

“Buyers are being far more selective, are taking their time over committing and are only prepared to pay the market price.

“Vendors are not lowering their price expectations significantly but are accepting that to achieve an above market sales price in the current climate their house has to be special.

“New listings in April were excellent as 1292 and combined with lower sales, this allowed stock numbers and buyer choice to remain high.”

Thomson said the decline in sales numbers was felt across all price ranges but only 6% of the agency’s sales in April were for under $500,000.