House sales take off in new year

REBECCA STEVENSON
Last updated 10:25 12/02/2013
Fairfax NZ

House sales have taken off this year, rising over 21 per cent on January last year.

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Residential house sales have shaken off any summer slow-down with January sales reaching heights not seen in five years.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) released statistics this morning on house sales that have been reported as unconditional by agents for the month of January.

They showed 4933 houses sold, a rise of more than 21 per cent on January last year.

Median house prices also spiked, up 4.2 per cent compared with January 2012 to $370,000 - but this was down on the record median of $389,999 reported in December.

Total residential sales, including of sections, for the month topped $2.24 billion with 164 properties selling for more than $1 million. The bulk of the properties sold, 2756, were sold for less than $400,000.

Yesterday, Government valuer QV's property value index showed nationwide values had risen 1.5 per cent over the past three months.

QV said valuations were now 2.6 per cent higher than the previous market peak in late 2007, although still behind on an inflation-adjusted basis.

REINZ said January house sales dropped 14.3 per cent compared with December 2012 in line with normal seasonal trends.

REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the six-day improvement in the number of days to sell in January 2013 compared to January 2012 indicated higher levels of buyer activity in markets across the country.

Properties took 41 days to sell in January, an increase of nine days on December.

"Agents across the country are reporting continuing shortages of listings and positive buyer enquiry, even after taking into account the normal slowdown in activity over Christmas and New Year," she said.

Auction sales nationwide in January doubled on the same month last year with 449 houses sold under the hammer. Auckland represented 73.5 per cent of all auction sales.

Median house prices in Auckland were up 8.1 per cent on January 2012, Canterbury/Westland's median price rose 5.8 per cent and Nelson/Marlborough rose 4.6 per cent.

Taranaki recorded a new record high median house price of $310,000 for the month. 

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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