Median residential property prices in New Zealand set a new record

Almost all regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to June 2011

National median house prices in New Zealand increased by $3,000 to a new record of $372,000 last month and sales are also increasing, the latest report from the Real Estate Institute shows.

House prices are now up 3.3% in the 12 months to the end of June with Auckland maintaining the $500,000 record median and sales are up 17.3% year on year nationwide.

March this year. The national median house price is up 3.3% compared to June last year, with Auckland maintaining the $500,000 record median set last month.

Almost all regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to June last year, with Canterbury/Westland recording an increase of almost 56%, followed by Northland with 39.1% and Hawkes Bay with 25.6%. Auckland’s sales volume increase over June 2011 was 15.7%. Only Taranaki recorded a fall in sales volume compared to June last year.

June is traditionally a slower month than May and this expected pattern was evident in all regions apart from Northland. Northland bucked the trend to record an increase of 2.0%, while Waikato/Bay of Plenty recorded a fall of 6.2% and Manawatu/Wanganui a fall of 8.5%. Auckland recorded a 13.1% fall in sales in June compared to May.

For the month of June, Central Otago Lakes recorded the highest lift in prices for the month with an increase of 11.5%, followed by Northland with 10%, and Wellington with 6.9%. Compared to June 2011, Taranaki recorded the highest lift in prices with an increase of 11.3%, followed by Auckland with 8.5% and Canterbury/Westland with 8.3%.

The REINZ Stratified House Price Index, which adjusts for some of the variations in mix that can impact on the median price, is 5.3% higher than June 2011 and is now also at a new record high. The House Price Indices for Auckland and Christchurch are also at new record highs in June.

‘Keen buyer interest in Auckland and Christchurch, which together make up about half of national activity, drove the New Zealand real estate market to new highs in June and a new record median price,’ said REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan.

‘The overall pattern for the rest of New Zealand shows improvement in sales volumes, with prices on the whole steady rather than up. The constraint across the country appears to be shortage of properties available to meet buyer demand. This is most acute in Auckland, where new home building is still sluggish, and in Christchurch where the earthquake recovery is slowly getting under way,’ she explained.

However, O’Sullivan cautioned that the apparent strength was still far from reaching the boom years of the mid to late noughties.

‘Buyers and sellers lost confidence during the global financial crisis and in that context the current the market should be seen as recovering rather than booming,’ she said.

The national median days to sell improved by one day in June compared to May, from 38 to 37 days, with the number of days to sell also improving by seven days compared to June 2011. Over the past five years the median days to sell has averaged 41 days across New Zealand.

Canterbury/Westland recorded the shortest days to sell at 31 days, followed by Auckland with 32 days. Central Otago Lakes recorded the longest number of days to sell at 81 days, followed by Northland with 80 days, and Taranaki with 61 days.

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