Auckland housing market losing steam

Tina Morrison

Auckland's overheated housing market is slowing, with price growth lagging behind other main centres, according to the latest monthly data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

The median number of days it took to sell a property in Auckland - a gauge of underlying demand - increased by six days to 49 in February, up from 43 in February last year and the highest number of days it's taken to sell a property in Auckland for nine years, REINZ says.

Nationally, the median number of days to sell a property increased by four days to 44.

In Auckland, the number of properties available for sale increased by 11 per cent compared with a year earlier, ahead of a 3.2 per cent nationwide increase, while the REINZ house price index showed property values in Auckland advanced 1.1 per cent over the year, lagging behind a 3.9 per cent nationwide increase.

Auckland's median price rose 3.7 per cent to $858,000 from a year earlier, compared with a larger 6.9 per cent gain to $530,000 for median prices throughout the country.

Inflated house prices in Auckland have been on the radar of officials over recent years prompting the government and the Reserve Bank to introduce new measures to quell the risk from a housing bubble.

"Auckland's median house price while continuing to slowly creep upwards, is clearly showing signs of moderated growth rather than the double digits we saw throughout 2016 and 2017," REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

"This is far more positive for the region as we know double-digit increases are not sustainable in the long term."

The number of auctions, which is generally an indicator of a heated housing market, shrank to 12 per cent of all sales across the country from 15 per cent a year earlier.