Housing market strong in May

21:29, Jun 13 2013

The residential property market continued its recent strong run in May with all but one region reporting increased sales numbers, and median selling prices continuing to rise in most regions.

The latest Real Estate Institute of NZ figures show that 7714 homes sold in May, compared with 7104 in April and 7175 in May last year.

That made it the best May for the numbers of homes sold since the final stages of the last housing boom in May 2007, when 9285 homes changed hands.

The only region to record a slight decline in sales numbers was Central Otago/Lakes, where the number of sales in May was down on April 2013 and on May last year, although the decline was so small the market there could probably best be described as flat.

The national median selling price increased by $2000 to $392,000 in May, although there were significant regional differences in the price trends.

Median prices were up on last month in Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Nelson/Marlborough, Canterbury, Central Otago/Lakes and Southland but fell in Manawatu/Wanganui, Taranaki, Wellington, and Otago.

Overall, the national median price was up 6.25 per cent in May compared with May last year.

However the REINZ is warning of a potential shortage of new listings as the market heads into the traditionally slow winter months, particularly in Auckland.

"There are too few houses coming to market in the Auckland region creating an imbalance between supply and demand and driving up house prices at both the regional and national level," REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said.

Although the number of homes being sold in Auckland had risen, the overall number of homes available for sale had fallen back to levels last seen in 2008 to 2009, she said.

The REINZ said that since the beginning of 2011 the number of homes sold in Auckland had been increasing by 20 per cent a year, but the total number of listings had been increasing by just 3 per cent.

"We would normally expect the number of listings to increase more rapidly coming out of a downturn, but as yet, this does not appear to be happening," O'Sullivan said.

"While buyers are actively seeking properties, it appears that existing owners are not being motivated to sell by the increase in prices that has occurred across the Auckland region."

However the potential tightening of the supply of homes for sale was not limited to Auckland.

"REINZ is seeing evidence of listings shortages right across the country, with only a handful of regions reporting sufficient supply of properties for sale," she said.

"With the winter months now upon us there is unlikely to be any easing of the listings shortage until spring."

The figures:

Region...Median Selling Price May 2012...Median Selling Price May 2013







Total NZ...$369,000...$392,000