Auckland Home Buyers Lead New Zealand Housing Market Recovery

Home buyers in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, are returning to the property market and beginning to reduce the volume of unsold houses, according to a survey.

The inventory of homes for sale in Auckland fell 9 percent to the equivalent of 34.8 weeks of sales in April from 38 weeks in March, according to figures on realestate.co.nz, the industry website. Nationally, inventory rose 1 percent after increasing 9 percent in March.

Greater housing demand may support New Zealand’s economic recovery after confidence and spending deteriorated following a devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch, the nation’s second-largest city, in February. Central bank Governor Alan Bollard last week said housing market turnover was beginning to increase in many parts of the country.

“Auckland is very much on the boundary of moving from a buyer’s market to one favoring sellers,” Alastair Helm, chief executive officer at realestate.co.nz, said a statement on the website. “The levels of sales reported show that buyers are certainly back in the market and beginning to clear some of this high inventory.”

The inventory figures, calculated from unsold stock divided by three-month average sales, may be overstated because of low sales during the January vacation period. Inventories will show a “significant fall” in May, Helm said.

The number of new listings across the country fell 8 percent from March, after seasonal adjustment, according to today’s report. From a year earlier, listings have fallen for 10 straight months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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