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Auckland house prices peak in October

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/11/2016 Tina Morrison
Houses stand in the suburb of Saint Heliers in Auckland, New Zealand. © Bloomberg Houses stand in the suburb of Saint Heliers in Auckland, New Zealand.

The average Auckland house price hit a new record last month, driven by an increase in sales of higher-value properties, according to the city's largest realtor.

The average sale price rose 2.6 per cent to $943,801 from September, and is up 12 per cent from October last year, Barfoot & Thompson said in a statement.

Some 39 per cent of the homes were sold for more than $1 million, while just 5.1 per cent of properties sold for under $500,000, the agency said.

Concern about soaring house prices in Auckland has spurred the introduction of new loan-to-value lending restrictions by the Reserve Bank and Barfoot said the latest sales data showed that while high-end buyers weren't put off by rising prices, the tougher rules had impacted the lower end of the market.

"The new LVRs investors must meet has had a significant impact on sales in the under $500,000 price category," said Peter Thompson, managing director of Barfoot & Thompson.

"In spite of there being a reasonable selection of properties available, only 40 homes, or 5.1 per cent of all properties, sold for under $500,000."

The real estate agency sold a total of 778 properties in October, down 26 per cent on September's tally and 27 per cent lower than October last year.

That was the lowest level of sales for an October month since 2011 when the market was still not fully recovered from the global financial crisis, the agency said.

At the end of the month, Barfoot had 3,711 properties listed on its books, 21 per cent ahead of the same period in September, 14 per cent above October last year, and marking the highest level for three years.

Thompson said the latest data showed the Auckland market "is losing its forward momentum", and noted the "normal spring lift in sales activity" had failed to arrive this year.

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