Residential property prices in New Zealand have risen to their highest March level in two decades, while the number of sales also increased, the latest reports show.
The median sale price of homes in New Zealand rose to $360,500, some 7% up on the same period last year, and the highest March figure in 20 years, according to the data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
REINZ president Peter McDonald said the apparently strengthening market was an encouraging sign. ‘Despite an abundance of good listings at present, we are still seeing prices going up as a result of strong demand from genuine home buyers,’ he explained.
McDonald said the figures were in contrast to November figures when listings were short and prices went up because demand was not being met.
The largest annual percentage increases were in Auckland, up 9.31% and Taranaki, up 8.52%. Southland also showed strong growth with the annual median price rising more than 5.3%.
Another indicator of the strengthening market was the recorded fall in the median number of days which fell from 46 to 35 from February to March. Sales were quickest in Wellington, Canterbury/Westland and Otago at 29 median days.
But the number of complaints in the industry has increased with the country’s new Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) receiving over 320 complaints and allegations in its first five months of operation and over 17,000 telephone and email inquiries.
The agency says the complaints are from both consumers and licensees who are obliged to report behavior under the authority’s Code of Professional Conduct and Client Care.
Chairperson Kristy McDonald said that the complaints range from minor through to serious but all are required to go through the complaints procedure.
The Real Estate Agents Authority was set up under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 to license industry members and provide an independent and transparent complaints process. The large number of complaints received since implementation of the new Act is significant and highlights there was a need for this new legislation with its consumer protection focus, McDonald said and added that the self regulating system was often seen as not open and transparent while the new system provides an independent assessment of complaints and findings can be made public.