11 Sep 2012

Property market continues to improve

7:14 am on 11 September 2012

The property market is continuing to improve and the Real Estate Institute says sales numbers rose 16% to 6035 in August, compared with the same period a year ago.

The national median house sale price rose 4% to $370,000, just below June's record $372,000, and it took 35 days to sell a house.

While Auckland continues to dominate - making up 40% of all sales - most other regions experienced stronger sales.

A shortage of listings and lower interest rates are supporting the sector, but institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan says the property market is not getting ahead of itself.

"We are still below the pre-2008 long-run average," said Ms O'Sullivan. "While it is a recovery, I'm not sure it is raching a 'boom'."

The institute's house price index has been designed to accurately reflect changes in house values and increased by 6.3% compared with a year ago.

The housing market has shown signs of improvement, particularly in major cities, after being sluggish for much of 2011 because of weak domestic consumption, slow wage growth and an uncertain economic outlook.