15 Sep 2017

House sales drop but prices in regions surge

1:51 pm on 15 September 2017

House prices have fallen in Auckland and the number of sales over the country has dropped by a fifth, the latest Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures show.

House sold sign, house auction sign, key.

Photo: RNZ / 123rf

Overall, the number of properties sold across the country fell by 20 percent during August, a reduction of 1472 properties, when compared with the same time last year.

Sales volumes fell in every region other than the West Coast, where the number sold was the same as in August 2016.

Regions with the biggest reduction in volumes were Southland (with a 37.3 percent fall), Northland (29.4 percent), Taranaki (25.9 percent), Waikato (25 percent) and Auckland (21.5 percent).

Residential property prices increased by 8.2 percent year on year to a national median price of $530,000. Nationally, excluding Auckland, median prices increased 10.9 percent. In Auckland, however, median prices decreased by 1.2 percent year on year.

House price changes in the year to August 2017.

Graphic: REINZ

Five regions had record median price increases in the year to August:

  • Southland (up 22 percent to $250,000)
  • Nelson (up 12.6 percent to $518,000)
  • Hawke's Bay (up 19.1 percent to $405,000)
  • Manawatu/Wanganui (up 18.8 percent to $285,000)
  • Marlborough (up 16.7 percent to $420,000).

The REINZ house price index rose 0.5 percent compared with August last year, and was down from 1.2 percent annual growth (July to July).

In Auckland, the index was down nearly 3 percent, while the rest of the country was growing more slowly - although Nelson, Hawke's Bay and Southland hit record highs.

REINZ executive Bindi Norwell said the fall in the number of houses sold was most likely because of tougher lending restrictions.

"If you looked at the number of properties sold, without looking at the bigger picture, one might assume that the market was showing significant signs of slowing.

"However, as prices are holding up, and even increasing, then it suggests that people may be holding off from selling their property unless it's absolutely necessary, she said.

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