Bay house sales sky­rocket

But prices down a lit­tle on the high of ear­lier this year, me­dian un­changed at $430,000

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - An­drew Ash­ton an­drew.ash­ton@hbto­

Real­tors in Hawke’s Bay saw a “mas­sive” rise in the num­ber of houses sold last month but the av­er­age price re­mains be­low the re­gion’s all-time high for the sec­ond month in a row.

Lat­est sta­tis­tics from the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute show the me­dian price last month stayed at $430,000 — un­changed from April and down on the all-time high of $445,000 set in March.

There was also a hike in the num­ber of sales, with 30 more sales recorded com­pared with May last year and 50 more houses sold than in April 2018.

Prop­erty Bro­kers re­gional man­ager Paul Whitaker said he had seen a “mas­sive rise” in sales.

“We sold 120 prop­er­ties last month, so we are still see­ing re­ally strong ac­tiv­ity — the mar­ket is still re­ally strong.

“We’re still see­ing more of the same, and on the face of it, there’s noth­ing there to stop it, al­though we do think prices are ta­per­ing off.”

While the re­cent price hikes could be “com­ing to the end of its run” sales were still strong, and it was still a good time to sell.

The New Zealand In­sti­tute of Eco­nomic Re­search this month pre­dicted a rise, next year, in the Official Cash Rate that could see banks set higher in­ter­est rates but Whitaker said as long as any rise was done re­spon­si­bly, there would be lit­tle ef­fect on the hous­ing mar­ket. Last month’s me­dian price rose 13.2 per cent from the same month last year but, at $430,000, Tre­mains man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Si­mon Tre­main said, the price was mak­ing it hard for first-time buy­ers.

“I think the vol­ume of sales is the real pos­i­tive we can take out of this, which is a real in­di­ca­tion that there are still a lot of buy­ers around and es­pe­cially from out of town.

“The me­dian price pulling back slightly is cer­tainly no in­di­ca­tion of prices pulling back — they are still in­creas­ing but there is a lack of prop­erty in that first-home-buyer range in the $400,000s.”

With the re­gion’s growth be­ing noted around New Zealand, “a lot” of peo­ple from through­out the coun­try were still buy­ing in Hawke’s Bay “with an eye to the fu­ture”.

Ray White Hast­ings man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Elanor Mac­Don­ald said the lat­est fig­ures showed there was still a sup­ply and de­mand prob­lem in the re­gion.

“I would hazard a guess that was one of the best months for sales volumes we have.”

Har­courts Hawke’s Bay gen­eral man­ager James Cooper said there was still high de­mand from buy­ers and, even with the in­crease in the list­ings in April and May, com­pe­ti­tion for prop­erty meant de­mand had not been eased. “We are still see­ing a num­ber of out-of-town buy­ers in the mar­ket. In par­tic­u­lar, our team wit­nessed a spike in buy­ers from Auck­land dur­ing Queen’s Birth­day Week­end as vis­i­tors used the ex­tra day off to search for a home in the Bay.” Black and White Real Es­tate man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Tina Cham­ber­lain said sales volumes had been the high­est since May 2016. “How­ever, the me­dian sale price has de­creased by 3 per cent from the peak in March 2018. We are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing lower in­ven­tory, par­tic­u­larly in the $500,000-$700,000 price range, due to lo­cal home­own­ers be­ing hes­i­tant to come to mar­ket in fear of not find­ing a prop­erty to buy. This is re­sult­ing in sale val­ues plateau­ing. If more home sell­ers came to the mar­ket mak­ing use of the ‘ven­dor ac­quir­ing prop­erty’ con­di­tion we would see more stock avail­able.”

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