New house listing prices increasing

Average asking prices for new house listings in April continued to rise above those a year ago, with Auckland posting a 12% rise to a consecutive record high of $685,426.

The number of listings was down on last year, while pricing pressure gained in 10 of the 19 regions covered by realestate.co.nz.

Auckland and Canterbury were the standouts.

The Reserve Bank's loan to value ratio (LVR) restrictions on bank lending have taken many first-home buyers out of the bottom tier of buyers since their October introduction, but year-on-year house prices and valuations continue to climb, generally beyond levels not seen since the highs of 2007.

From March to April, Otago overall had a 1.4% decline in listing prices to $289,037, with the separate Central Otago-Lakes region up 0.8% to $613,143.

''Of the eight regions [from 19] that reported lower new listings than April last year, the most significant fall was seen in Marlborough and Otago, falling 17.8% and 16.4% respectively,'' realestate.co.nz said in a statement.

ASB economist Christina Leung expected annual house price inflation would slow from 9% at the end of last year to just over 5% by the end of this year.

She said ''supply constraints'' would continue to drive relatively stronger house price inflation in Auckland and Canterbury during coming years.

''We expect the rate of further house price increases will slow over the coming years as new housing supply comes on board and the effects of higher interest rates start to bite,'' she said.

Nationally, the availability of homes to sell, being those unsold, in April rose 8%.

The sector had 29 weeks of stock on hand, but that was well below the long-term average of 37 weeks of stock.

''This shows that there continues to be rebalancing in the market, and we expect to see this continue throughout May, which historically has seen healthy listings come on the market,'' realestate.co.nz said.

The inventories of unsold homes in Otago and Central Otago Lakes were, respectively, 25 and 58 weeks, while the Auckland and Canterbury inventories were 15 and 18 weeks.

New listings nationally for April were up 2% on a year ago, to 10,245, but were ''significantly less'' than in March, having fallen 18% from then.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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