The property valuer QV says the real-estate market remains in a deadlock, with sellers waiting to see if it improves before putting their homes up for sale, and buyers showing little sign of urgency.
QV says the pace of growth continued to slow in August - to 3.1% -and the volume of sales remained low.
The average national sale price rose by $2000 to just over $407,000. But QV says that's slightly misleading, because a larger number of expensive properties were sold.
QV valuation manager Glenda Whitehead says the lack of buyers and the high number of unsold properties has led to prices falling more than 1% over the past five months.
She says, however, that there are signs of buyers preparing to enter the housing market again.
Reserve Bank figures show that about 5000 home loans were approved each week for the four weeks, which is down by about a quarter on the same period last year.