2 Oct 2013

New listings down in Auckland and Canterbury

7:09 am on 2 October 2013

The number of new houses listed for sale is down in Auckland and Canterbury, raising concerns that the new lending restrictions in force from 1 October will have a limited impact on rising house prices.

Figures from Realestate.co.nz show that seasonally adjusted listings in September fell 3.1% in Auckland, 8% in Canterbury and more than 5% nationwide, compared with August.

The national average asking price in September was a record $466,526, a rise of nearly 9% from the same month last year and up 0.7% from August.

Realestate.co.nz says the level of unsold houses on the market at the end of September dropped sharply compared with the same time last year, while inventory remains close to record lows.

ASB Bank senior economist Jane Turner said the decline reflects a surprising lull in construction.

"What we're seeing is a very low level of new housing construction, and that is constraining the number of new listings coming on to the markets," Ms Turner said.

"We had seen a increase in building demand and building consents lifting but more recently, that data does suggest that perhaps new building is starting to stall and that is a concerning development and does suggest the housing market could remain quite tight for some time."

Ms Turner said she was surprised by the stall in building and expected Canterbury, in particular, to pick up.

There were a few too many challenges to really get building going in the short-term in Auckland but it was hoped policy changes would lead to a larger supply in the medium-term, she said.