Average house prices in Auckland rose last year despite sales numbers falling, with 37 per cent of homes sold for more than $1 million, realtor Barfoot and Thompson says.

There were 674 sales in December, compared to 721 sales in the same month a year earlier, the company said on Monday.

The average sale price rose 2.9 per cent from the previous December to $939,871, with the median price up 3.6 per cent annually to $870,000.

In 2017 the number of homes sold was down more than 25 per cent from each of the previous three years, but average prices still rose 4.5 per cent to $926,632 and the median selling price jumped 2.7 per cent to $843,583, managing director Peter Thompson said.

“Normally when sale numbers fall by such a large percentage, prices retreat from their record high levels,” he said.

“But this has not occurred, and prices have continued to rise modestly. It underlines there is still buyer support at current prices.”

The Reserve Bank’s restrictions on the level of new bank lending to owner-occupiers with less than 20 per cent deposit and leveraged residential property investors, along with retail banks being more cautious on mortgage lending and buyer apprehension have “all played their part in cooling the market”, but “a housing shortage when the population is growing creates demand”, Mr Thompson said.

In the year, 37 per cent of all homes sold were for in excess of $1m, compared to 35 per cent in 2016 and 29 per cent in 2015.

At the other end of the scale, just 9 per cent of homes sold for less than $500,000, compared to 11 per cent in 2016 and 15 per cent in 2015.

Barfoot and Thompson said sales of lifestyle and rural property in Auckland and Northland followed the same pattern in the year, with sales numbers lower but firm while prices held steady.

Dairy farm sales were affected by the downturn in the industry.


By Sophie Boot