The upcoming election and the loan- to-value restrictions (LVRs) imposed by the Reserve Bank have cooled the New Zealand property market, with the average asking price remaining relatively unchanged since last month, according to the latest Trade Me Property Price Index.

The national average asking price has stalled at $631,350, a slight dip from $632,850 in June and a 2.1% fall from $644,000 in April.

“We’ve noticed over the last few months that the LVRs are biting into the property market and causing a slowdown, and we suspect next month’s election is playing its part too,” Trade Me Property Head Nigel Jeffries said.

“Over the years we’ve seen some uncertainty in the property market around an election from both sellers and buyers and this year appears to be no different.”

Jeffries said the Auckland market continued to cool down after some red-hot recent years – with its average asking price up by a miniscule 0.1% since June, “hovering around $912,000 this month, and just a drop in the ocean compared to the increases we’ve become accustomed to in our largest city.”

The number properties for sale in Auckland were up by almost 20%; Jeffries said now is a good time for homebuyers to try their luck.

Despite the cooling down of prices around the regions (areas excluding Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) by 0.7% since June, the Bay of Plenty has showed a strong performance – hitting a new average asking price record of $595,100, up 8.9% from last year.

According to REINZ, the popularity of small houses (1-2 bedrooms) increased steadily with a nationwide increase of 9.4%, sitting at $424,250 over the last 12 months. Medium houses (3-4 bedrooms) were second, up 6.4% followed by large houses (5+ bedrooms) which have only increased 5.2%.

Apartments on the other hand showed a steady annual growth, with a 15.4% increase nationwide. This was driven by the growing demand for apartments in Auckland which grew 14.1% in the last 12 months, Jeffries said.