Ven­dor lag but house prices rise

Waikato Times - - Business - ANUJA NAD­KARNI AND SU­SAN ED­MUNDS

Auck­land houses are now tak­ing longer to sell than they have in the past nine years, new data shows.

Fe­bru­ary data from the Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of New Zealand (REINZ) show the na­tional me­dian house price rose by al­most 7 per cent over the past year, to $530,000.

Auck­land’s prices lifted 3.7 per cent to a me­dian $858,000.

REINZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Bindi Nor­well said that was pos­i­tive for the re­gion. ‘‘We know dou­ble-digit in­creases are not sus­tain­able in the long term.’’

But the data showed it was tak­ing more time for prop­er­ties in New Zealand’s big­gest city to change hands – the me­dian num­ber of days to sell rose by six to 49 com­pared with Fe­bru­ary 2017.

That’s the high­est num­ber of days it’s taken to sell an Auck­land prop­erty in nine years.

Na­tion­ally, the me­dian num­ber of days to sell was up four to 44.

The only parts of New Zealand where prices did not rise over the year were the West Coast and Gis­borne, down 10.7 per cent and 3.1 per cent, re­spec­tively.

The West Coast also ex­pe­ri­enced an in­crease in the num­ber of days it takes to sell over the year – an ex­tra 21 days, tak­ing it to 105.

Hawke’s Bay hit an­other record me­dian price. ‘‘Hawke’s Bay has seen record price in­creases for two months in a row now, with prices hav­ing in­creased $26,0000 since the end of 2017,’’ Nor­well said.

‘‘Clearly the re­gion is prov­ing ex­tremely pop­u­lar. Ad­di­tion­ally, the re­cent an­nounce­ment by the Re­gional Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter, Shane Jones, that nearly $9 mil­lion will be spent to re­open the Wairoa-Napier line for log­ging trains will bring sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for the Hawke’s Bay.’’

North­land and Taranaki both ex­pe­ri­enced sales vol­ume falls of more than 10 per cent com­pared with last year.

Mean­while, head of Trade Me Prop­erty Nigel Jeffries said av­er­age ask­ing prices looked to have cooled in parts of the coun­try.

Welling­ton had its first ask­ing price drop in five months, down 0.6 per cent from Jan­uary to $626,050.

Auck­land’s prices held sta­ble, down 0.1 per cent on Jan­uary and up 0.5 per cent on Fe­bru­ary 2017.

‘‘Buy­ers in Welling­ton will be smil­ing through grit­ted teeth with a dip in ask­ing prices and a 4 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of prop­er­ties for sale. It’s a nice change for first home buy­ers af­ter months of lit­tle stock and record ask­ing prices,’’ Jeffries said.

But he said prices were not likely to drop much fur­ther.

‘‘We’re still see­ing fierce de­mand for prop­er­ties in the cap­i­tal with the num­ber of views up 10 per cent on last year,’’ he said.

‘‘De­mand for prop­erty in Auck­land is well be­low the re­gion’s Fe­bru­ary 2016 peak and it seems for the first time in a while, buy­ers are in the prime po­si­tion.’’

But Jeffries said units in Auck­land were be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar and scaled new heights in Fe­bru­ary, up 2.9 per cent to a record ask­ing price of $635,650.

Provin­cial New Zealand saw av­er­age ask­ing prices reach a new record, up 1.1 per cent on Jan­uary to $499,300.

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