Low mortgage rates - the result of strong competition among banks - brought the housing market back to life in May, with an almost 25 per cent increase in sales year-on-year.
Latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data shows 7,175 houses were sold unconditionally in May, up 24.4 per cent from last year and up 26 per cent on the number of properties sold in April.
The median sale price was 5.4 per cent higher than a year earlier, at $369,000. Auckland prices rose 7.8 per cent in the same period to $500,000.
Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said sales volumes were surprisingly strong in May, with all regions recording increases in sales.
''May is typically stronger than April, ranking as the third busiest month in the year for real estate sales, but the increase is considerably stronger than normal seasonal trends would suggest. This is likely partly driven by good deals on interest rates during the month, and a desire by buyers to complete purchases before winter,'' O'Sullivan said.
She said the strength of the real estate market continues to be focused on Auckland and Canterbury, with Auckland reaching a new milestone with a record median price of $500,000 and Canterbury/Westland maintaining its record median price of
All areas saw a rise in sales volumes, with the earthquake-stricken Canterbury region making the strongest recovery. There were 56 per cent more properties sold there in May from a year earlier, with prices 4.4 per cent higher.
Just over half of the $3.3 billion worth of properties sold last month went for under $400,000. A quarter of the houses sold in May went for between $400,000 and $599,999, with 14.5 per cent between $600,000 and $999,999 and just 4.2 per cent sold for more than $1 million.
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