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01-04-2011

New listings up in March, though still down on year earlier

Landlords.co.nz

New listing rose 9% in March with 12,247 properties brought to the market, however volumes are still 15% below the March 2010 level, according to the Realestate.co.nz March report.

March also saw a rise in the mean asking price for all new listings, up 1% from February to $421,940, and a fall in the level of unsold houses on the market, down from 52,672 in February to 51,980 in March.

"The key driver of this rising inventory is more a reflection of somewhat lacklustre sales than excessive new listings," Realestate.co.nz said.

"The absolute level though at over a year of equivalent sales will continue to impact the market and maintain the 'buyers market' perspective."

ASB economist Chris Tennent-Brown highlighted the decline in total listings however, down a seasonally-adjusted 2% on the month, and the amount of inventory relative to turnover.

"Housing turnover has been very low over 2010 and early 2011," he said.

"Nationwide turnover has averaged 4,400 dwellings between October and February, which is very low compared to the long run average of 6,800 dwellings sales per month. However, the fact that the total amount of inventory has not been lifting significantly, and has actually declined in recent months, has meant the overall market has kept in better balance than during the recession."

"In 2008 prices fell sharply, dropping around 9% over a year. Prices drifted down around 3% over 2010, and are currently down around 5% from the 2007 peak."

The report also examined the Canterbury property market - the second-biggest property region accounting for around 15% of the market - in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.

"In March the level of new listings in the region fell 36% compared to a year ago. Based on a representation of the national total it is likely that around 480 less properties were listed in the Canterbury region in the month than would have been anticipated at this time of year."

Across the country 11 regions out of 19 saw rises in asking prices, though there were some significant falls.

Both Wellington and Auckland saw asking prices rise close to peak, with the capital particularly strong with a 4.1% increase to come within $2,500 of the peak asking price.

By contrast Northland and Marlborough both saw significant falls, down 11.7% and 8% respectively, to record low asking prices.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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