10 Apr 2009

Rise in house sales in March - REINZ

3:06 pm on 10 April 2009

The Real Estate Institute says there was a spike in house sales in March but it is too early to predict a recovery in the housing market.

The total number of homes sold nationwide last month was nearly 6,694, up from 5,228 in February and from 5,129 in March 2008.

Institute president Mike Elford says there are indications of renewed interest in the real estate market, stimulated by the drop in interest rates and the affordability of properties.

However, while there is a significant return to healthier numbers, he says there is usually a seasonal drop off in house sales heading in to winter.

Mr Elford says the median price for homes across New Zealand in March was $335,000, slightly up on $330,000 in February.

In March 2008 the median price was $349,000.

With the exception of Taranaki, where prices rose by 1.77% and Nelson/Marlborough, which rose 1.58%, and Manawatu/Wanganui which remained the same, prices dropped in all districts.

Prices fell between 0.57% in Auckland and 9.37% in the Central Otago Lakes District in March compared with the same month the year before

Property values fall - QV

The fall in house prices gathered pace in March, with Auckland driving the decline, according to Quotable Value figures released on Thursday.

Quotable Value says property values fell 9.3% percent in the year to March, compared with an 8.9% drop in the year to February.

Auckland property values were down 10.1% compared with a year earlier.

Hamilton showed a 9.3% decline, Wellington an 8.7% fall and Dunedin an 8.8% drop - in each case a slower rate of decline than in the year to February.

Quotable Value spokesperson Blue Hancock says a pick-up in sales in February was followed by a decline in in March, which may have been due to the increase in long-term home loan rates.