The national median house price in New Zealand reached a new record of $389,000 in December, up almost 10% compared with a year ago, the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows. The organisation said that ongoing strong demand drove robust sales volume growth in the residential property market during 2012 with the number of sales up 21% on 2011, their highest level since 2007.
However, chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said that despite the strong growth in sales volume, the number of sales compared to the total number of dwellings in New Zealand remains well below the long run average and substantially below the peak volume of 2003 when more than 120,000 residential properties were sold. ‘A new record median price and robust volume growth saw the New Zealand real estate market end 2012 on a strong note and positioned for those trends to continue into 2013,’ she said.
The key drivers in 2012 were the Auckland and Canterbury/Westland regions, which together make up over half the real estate activity in New Zealand, where supply constraints resulted in significant price gains that have not been achieved elsewhere. ‘The strength of these two regions is starting to spill over into other parts of the country with Central Otago Lakes and Wellington both seeing more invigorated markets, particularly in terms of sales volumes,’ explained O’Sullivan.
She pointed out that a key development during 2012 has been the growth in sales by auction, with the number of properties sold by auction growing by more than two thirds compared to 2011. ‘The growth in auction sales has been particularly strong in Auckland where almost two of every five sales are now by auction. The trend in auctions is evidence of the continued tightness of some parts of the residential real estate market where demand is increasing, but supply remains constrained,’ she added.
The REINZ data shows there were 5,754 unconditional residential sales in December, an increase of 8.2% compared with the same time last year and a fall of 22.8% compared to November 2012. On a seasonally adjusted basis December’s sales were about in line with November and 14.8% higher than December last year.
Quote from PropertyCommunity.com : “Residential property sales increased in almost every region in New Zealand last month but prices fell, the latest data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show.”
Eight regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to December last year, with Northland recording an increase of 37.2%, followed by Auckland with 18.7% and Central Otago Lakes with 18.4%. All regions recorded falls in sales volume in December compared to November, as is usual due to the short trading month, with Northland recording the shallowest fall of 8.8% followed by Nelson/Marlborough with a fall of 11.2% and Canterbury/Westland with a fall of 11.3%. Auckland and Canterbury/Westland together accounted for slightly more than half of all properties sold in December.
The national median house price increased by $5,750, from $383,250 in November, to a new record high of $389,000 in December, an increase of 1.5%. Canterbury/Westland’s median house price moved up 1.7% compared to November to a new record median price of $351,000, although Auckland’s median house price eased by $5,000 to $535,000. The national median house price is up 9.6% compared to December 2011, while the Auckland median price is up 10.5% compared to December in the previous year.
For the month of December, Nelson/Marlborough recorded the largest rise in prices for the month with an increase of 8.3%, followed by Central Otago Lakes 5.9% and Taranaki with 5.4%. Compared to December 2011, Auckland recorded the highest lift in prices with an increase of 10.5%, followed by Canterbury/Westland with 8.0% and Northland with 6.3%.