Marlborough house prices continue to rise, setting new record high for January

Median house prices in Marlborough have climbed to a record high in January.
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Median house prices in Marlborough have climbed to a record high in January.

Marlborough house prices continue to set record highs and the upward trend seems to show no sign of slowing down, a real estate agent says.

This is good news for existing property owners, but the red hot market is making it harder for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.

The latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show median house prices in Marlborough and Kaikoura rose to $398,500 in January.

This sets a new high water mark for median house prices in the region, up 17 per cent on last January when prices were sitting at $340,000.

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Nationwide, median house prices increased by 9 per cent, far less than the 25 per cent rise seen in the combined Nelson and Marlborough sales area.

While prices were up, there were fewer sales in Marlborough and Kaikoura this January, with 74 properties sold this year compared to 88 the year before.

Across Nelson and Marlborough the average number of days to sell was 33, compared to the long-term average over the past 10 years of 47 days.

Bayleys Marlborough general manager David Lee said he was not surprised by the increase, as there was still an imbalance between supply and demand.

"There's still more buyers than sellers, and more people are committing to properties which obviously enables the vendor to achieve a premium price," he said.

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"We're seeing no evidence that it's going to top out - the level of demand and interest remains consistent."

Reports earlier this month suggested the Nelson property market was attracting keen interest from Americans looking to flee the country under President Donald Trump.

Lee said the "Trump effect" was not a factor in Marlborough, however there was still strong demand from people outside the region, especially Auckland.

"There is talk about people wanting to escape from Mr Trump, but we haven't seen that here," he said.

"It's mostly people returning from the United Kingdom, Australia, people re-locating from the major cities.

"Marlborough is a destination - in the last 18 months we've noticed an escalation, more and more people are seeing the region as a viable place to live."

Lee said houses in the region were still attracting multiple offers, and as a result he recommended auctions as the best way to sell in the current market.

Bayleys Marlborough had six properties going under the hammer on March 6, and another five on March 10, he said.

"It's the best and most transparent way to sell a property."

Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith said house prices in Marlborough were not unaffordable compared to places like Auckland, but it could still pose a problem for homebuyers.

The shortage of available stock was being compounded by a lack of development-ready sections - something Smith had been outspoken about for the past year.

The Marlborough District Council had made enough residential-zoned land available, however Smith said it was taking too long for developers to bring sections to market.

"If you're a developer, now is the time to get them on the market as quickly as possible," he said.

 - The Marlborough Express

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