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Auckland housing market slows in April

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/05/2016 Tina Morrison
The prices of houses in Auckland are still increasing. © Getty Images The prices of houses in Auckland are still increasing.

Auckland residential property sales volumes in April fell to the lowest level for the month in four years, according to the city's largest realtor.

The number of sales dropped 12 per cent to 944 in April from the same month last year, and were 30 per cent lower than in March, Barfoot & Thompson said.

The realtor said its 1,496 new listings in April were down 5.3 per cent from a year earlier and 20 per cent lower than March.

It had just 2,846 properties on its books at the end of April, the third consecutive monthly decline and the lowest level for April in more than 15 years.

April's average Auckland sale price of $873,599 is 8.6 per cent higher than April last year, lagging behind the 12 per cent rate over the past year, and just 0.8 per cent higher than March, Barfoot said.

The government and the Reserve Bank last year introduced measures to try and cool Auckland's bubbling property market, where migrants and investors are adding to competition for a shortage of housing.

RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler last week kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged, noting there were some indications that house price inflation in Auckland may be picking up. However, Barfoot said its data suggested Auckland house prices have pulled back from breaking into new territory.

"Overall, activity in April is best described as restrained," said managing director Peter Thompson.

"The likely cause of this was caution around current pricing and the low number of properties on the market, restricting choice."

The median sales price for the month at $820,000 was up 2.8 per cent on that for March, and 8.8 per cent higher than April last year.

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