NZ median house price eases in April, number of sales tumble

Article – BusinessDesk

Friday 12 May 2017 09:59 AM

NZ median house price eases in April, number of sales tumble

By Rebecca Howard

May 12 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s median house price eased slightly in April and while prices held up better outside the nation’s largest city of Auckland, the number of sales took a tumble as wet weather and holidays curbed buyer interest, according to the Real Estate Institute.

The national median house price was $540,000 in April, down 0.5 percent versus March when the price was $542,500. Prices were up 10 percent on the year. In Auckland alone, prices dipped 5.6 percent on the month in April and were up 3 percent on the year. Outside of that city, prices rose 0.8 percent in March and were up 14 percent on the year.

Record migration and low interest rates have bolstered the country’s housing market, prompting the Reserve Bank to tighten up mortgage lending rules to reduce the risk to the nation’s financial stability, with a particular focus on Auckland where prices had skyrocketed.

The number of sales for April was 5,845, a seasonally adjusted drop of 9 percent compared to March. Year-on-year, sales volumes declined 31 percent, reflecting impacts on market activity such as the combination of an exceptionally wet April, plus school holidays, Easter and Anzac Day, Reinz said. The number of days to sell eased by one day to 34 days from March, and eased two days compared to April 2016.

It also noted that the number of properties available for sale continues to decline nationwide, with 1,028 fewer houses for sale in April compared to 12 months ago, although the number of properties for sale in the Auckland region has increased by 39 percent.

According to a new house price index developed by Reinz and the central bank, month-on-month activity nationwide was up 0.4 percent, Auckland up 0.2 percent and outside Auckland up 0.8 percent “indicating stable market activity,” it said. The new index analyses how prices are influenced by a range of things like land area, floor area, and the number of bedrooms in a bid to better reflect underlying house price movements.

The data showed that three regions hit new record high median sale prices in April, including Waikato, where prices were up 22 percent year-on-year to $489,200, Wellington, up 18 percent on the year to $537,000 and Otago, up 13 percent year-on-year to $381,000.

Between April 2016 and April 2017, the number of homes sold for more than $1 million fell by 23 percent to 826 homes to equal 14 percent of all dwellings sold. The number of dwellings sold under $500,000 has declined by 1,714 between April 2016 and April 2017.


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