Barfoot & Thompson's sales returned to healthier levels in March but the company warned that the market is changing

The number of homes sold by Barfoot & Thompson bounced back last month and prices surged to record highs.

The company, which is Auckland’s largest real estate agency by a substantial margin, sold 1110 residential properties in March, almost exactly double the 556 properties it sold in February.

However, the sales were still the lowest for a March month since 2011 and well below the 1341 properties sold in the same month last year. 

The average and median prices of properties the agency sold also surged in March, with the median price hitting $900,000 compared to $820,000 in February, and the average price hitting $968,570 compared to $944,574 in February.

While the number of sales and selling prices were up, the number of new listings the agency signed up was down in March at 1983, compared to 2295 new listings in February.

That took the total number of homes Barfoot had available for sale at the end of the month to 4413 compared to 4546 in February and 3093 at the end of March last year.

“This upturn was always on the cards after the quiet January-February period,” Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said.

However, Thompson warned that the market was changing and buyer choice was the best it had been in the month of March for the last four years.

“The back story to these numbers is that clearance under the hammer at auction was down to around 40%, and more sales were agreed in after auction negotiations following vendors and buyers making modest compromises on their positions,” he said.

“Traditionally March is the high point for prices in the first half of the year.

“Vendors that accept the market is changing and that there is greater choice available are the ones most likely to achieve a successful sales outcome in the coming months.”

Thompson said 40.6% of March’s sales were for prices above $1 million and 6% were for above $2 million.

Just 8.9% of properties sold for less than $500,000.