The number of houses sold in Auckland fell 5.7 per cent in January from a year earlier, even as prices edged lower, with the pipeline of available properties in the country's biggest city swelling to a six-year high, says realtor Barfoot Thompson.

There were 593 sales in Auckland last month, down from 629 a year earlier, and the median house price fell 1.6 per cent to $NZ830,000 ($A765,259), continuing the trend of slowing turnover as the real estate market cools down on tighter credit criteria and restrictions on highly-leveraged borrowing.

Some 1200 houses were listed in the month, up 5.1 per cent from a year earlier, and leaving 4320 properties available for sale at the end of the month compared to 3620 at the end of January 2017.

“Given January’s short holiday interrupted trading period, caution needs to be attached to drawing strong conclusions from the month’s sales,” managing director Peter Thompson said.

“With prices having plateaued, stable mortgage interest rates and the potential that greater access to mortgage finance will be made available to first first-home buyers and those on limited income, sales numbers can be expected to grow as we head into the traditionally strong February to August sales period.”

Barfoot’s Thompson said properties sold for less than $NZ500,000 accounted for just eight per cent of sales in January, compared to 13 per cent a year earlier, while 27 houses were sold for $NZ2 million and 170 for $NZ1 million, in line with the same period a year earlier.

The average sale price rose 2.3 per cent to $NZ934,753 from January 2017.

 

By Paul McBeth