Hous­ing prices rais­ing the bar

The Tribune (NZ) - - BACKYARD BANTER -

Manawatu house prices con­tinue to hit record highs, frus­trat­ing first home buy­ers.

Manawatu/Whanganui house prices are the high­est they’ve been since Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of New Zealand records be­gan 20 years ago, with the re­gion see­ing some of the high­est in­creases in the coun­try.

The Manawatu/ Whanganui me­dian house price has gone up 21 per cent, to $265,000, in the 12 months to Jan­uary. Only two re­gions had a quicker rise in house prices; Nel­son/Marl­bor­ough, up 25 per cent, and Waitkato/ Bay of Plenty, up 22 per cent.

REINZ Manawatu spokesman Andy Ste­wart said plenty of first home buy­ers were still comb­ing the mar­ket, but they were fac­ing an in­creas­ingly dis­cour­ag­ing search.

‘‘It’s be­com­ing harder and more frus­trat­ing for them to buy. Prop­er­ties are go­ing quick and for more than they’re will­ing or able to front up for at first,’’ Ste­wart said.

It took an av­er­age of 23 days for a Palmer­ston North house to sell in 2016, just over half the time it took in 2010.

Ste­wart said with in­ter­est rates re­main­ing low, and fierce com­pe­ti­tion be­tween first home buy­ers, prices were push­ing up at the bot­tom of the mar­ket.

In Jan­uary, 37 per cent of city houses sold went for un­der $300,000.

Most Palmer­ston North city houses re­mained un­der $400,000. The por­tion sold be­low that mark was un­changed over the year at 73 per cent.

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