April is traditionally a quieter month for sales. April generally accounts for 8.3% of annual sales as compared to March which is closer to 10% (9.8%). Taking a seasonal adjusted position, the sales in April were almost unchanged as compared to March. The chart below tracks this seasonal adjusted monthly sales over the past 5 years. This chart better shows the trends in the market.
The 5 year period of the chart from January 2005 to the current month certainly highlights the key distinct stages of rises and falls of the market in terms of volume sales. The latest trending period which began around the spring of last year has been typified by falling sales volumes. Back in September last year monthly seasonally adjusted sales were 6,601. In April the seasonally adjusted level has fallen to 5,204 per month.
Another view of the April sales figures is detailed in the two charts below. The first shows actual sales for the month of April covering the last 11 years. The second takes a recent 3 month period (Feb / Mar / April) and examines the actual sales for this same period over the past 11 years.
The Stratified Price Index which provides a more robust measure of true price movements which has been developed by the Real Estate Institute in collaboration with the Reserve Bank showed a more subdued picture of property prices. The chart below shows the April stratified price of $366,925. This is down slightly from March at $368,225.
The chart shows that now 29 months after the peak of house prices in November 2007 the market price of NZ homes is still hovering below that peak level. It has yet to break through to reflect a true price increase in actual dollar terms. The current stratified price is 3.7% below that peak which in November 2007 was $380,900.