Low sales volumes at Harcourts but prices holding up in Auckland and Wellington

October was a mixed bag for the country’s largest real estate agency with sales numbers well down, but prices generally holding up reasonably well.

Harcourts sold 1688 residential properties in October, down 3% compared to September and down 14% compared to October last year.

However October’s average selling price of $586,954 was up 2% compared to September, but down 1% compared to October 2016.

The downturn in sales numbers was evident throughout the country although results varied significantly by district.

This was most evident in the South Island where sales were down just 4% compared to last year in Christchurch, but down a whopping 32% in the rest of the South Island.

In Auckland sales were down 17%, and in Wellington they were down 6% on a year ago.

But perhaps the biggest surprise in Harcourts’ October figures was in the central North Island district, which includes the Bay of Plenty and Waikato where the market has generally been more buoyant than much of the rest of the country.

In October, sales in Harcourts’ central North Island district were were almost flat compared to September but down 15% compared to October last year, while the average selling price dropped $28,400 compared to September and remained just 1% above where it was in October last year. In September the average price in the district was up 7% compared to a year earlier.

There were also marked regional differences in the number of new listings received in October, with new listings up 11% in Wellington compared to last year while they were almost unchanged compared to a year ago in Auckland and down in the rest of the country.

One of the biggest differences compared to a year ago was 20% decline in the number of homes going to auction.

Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy said there was a common belief that auctions were only an effective sales method in a booming market.

“In fact an auction’s greatest strength is that it will give you an accurate reflection of exactly where the market is and what your property is worth,” he said.

However he also noted the market was changing.

“The market is clearly fluctuating as buyers and sellers process developments like the election result, but overall things are steady with a good balance of supply and demand,” he said.

Harcourts Sales October 2017