Strong start to spring sales
The housing market has made a strong start to the spring selling season with a solid increase in the number of sales in September and median prices hitting all-time highs in Auckland and Canterbury.
The latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show that 6720 unconditional sales contracts were signed in September, up 2.6 per cent on sales in August and up 18.9 per cent on September last year.
REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan says sales were strong in the lead-up to the Reserve Bank’s new loanto-valuation mortgage lending rules, which came into effect at the beginning of this month.
"Sales volumes are ahead of what we would normally expect for this time of the year, with strong growth coming through in several regional centres," Ms O’Sullivan says.
The national median selling price of $400,000 equalled the all-time high hit in March this year, however most of that gain was driven by continuing price gains in the Auckland and Canterbury markets, with the two regions accounting for 95 per cent of the annual price growth nationally, according to REINZ.
The median price in Auckland was $570,000 compared with $563,000 in August and $515,000 in September last year.
In Canterbury/Westland the median price was $375,000, compared with $365,000 in August and $330,000 in September last year.
Around the rest of the country prices were patchy, with Waikato, Wellington, Central Otago/Lakes Otago and Southland posting higher median prices in September than August, while median prices declined in Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu/ Whanganui, Taranaki and Nelson/Marlborough.
"Auckland’s median has increased by $120,000 (26.7 per cent) since the end of the previous price cycle in November 2007, and Canterbury/Westland’s median price has increased $61,000 (19.4 per cent), O’Sullivan says.
However, for the rest of New Zealand combined, the median price in September was still $3000 (1.1 per cent) below where it was in November 2007, she says.