New listings and asking prices on were both up strongly in August suggesting an early start to the usual spring surge

Spring has sprung early for the property market with a big increase in the number of new listings and asking prices continuing to rise on property website in August.

Across the entire country 10,696 homes were newly listed for sale on in August, up 11% compared to July and up 13% compared to August last year.

The increase in new listings was particularly strong in the upper North Island, with the number of new listings in Auckland jumping from 3,649 in July to 4,299 in August, a 36% increase on August last year.

New listings were also up substantially in the Waikato with 939 new listings in August, a 36% increase on August last year.

Around the rest of the country (see chart below) new listings were a mixed bag in August compared to a year ago, except in Wellington where 581 dwellings were newly listed for sale in August, the lowest number in eight months and down 18% compared to August last year

In Canterbury 1163 homes were listed for sale in August, down from 1224 in July but up 4% compared to the 1120 listed in August last year.

Asking prices of newly listed properties continue to set new records, with August’s national average asking price* of $568,215 beating July’s record high by 5.5%.

In Auckland the average asking price was also at a new record of $832,613 and eight of the 19 regions around the country had record asking prices in August.

These included Waikato, ($403,640), Wellington ($479,399) and Canterbury ($475,066).

However although asking prices remain high and an increasing amount of stock is coming on to the market, it isn’t hanging around long.

The national inventory** of stock on the website was just 17 weeks in August, its lowest level since starting tracking inventory in 2007.

“The low inventory does not mean that there are fewer homes on the market, but rather that the turnover is faster,” chief executive Brendon Skipper said.

* uses a truncated 80% mean to calculate its average prices. This removes the top 10% and bottom 10% of prices to calculate an average, which is then seasonally adjusted. In the current market this is likely to produce a higher figure than a median price.

**Inventory is a theoretical measure based on how long it would take to sell all of the properties listed on the website at the current average rate of sale (in weeks). The long term average since 2007 is 35 weeks. In August this year it was just 17 weeks.