NZ median house price hits record

JOSH MARTIN
Last updated 07:50 21/01/2014

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House prices have hit a new record median selling price, according to figures released on December sales in 2013.

The new median high price for New Zealand, at $427,000, is up $2000 from the previous record high set in November last year.

Compared to December 2012 the national median house price increased by $38,000 (up 9.8 per cent), with 10 regions recording an increase in the median price.

Taranaki recorded the largest increase in median price by the end of 2013, up 18.5 per cent.

Auckland accounted for 67 per cent of the increase in the national median price compared to December last year and 15 per cent occurred in Canterbury/Westland.

The median price for the Wellington region was $400,000, down by $7500 or -1.8 per cent compared to December 2012 after reaching a record high in November.

Compared to December 2012, sales volumes fell by 5.4 per cent, with sales down across the region, apart from flat sales in Western Wellington.

The Auckland property market shows few signs of cooling off, with a 12.1 per cent increase in the median sale price between December 2012 and December 2013 to $600,000.

Nationally the number of homes sold in December, 5688, was significantly lower than a year earlier.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the reduced volume continued a trend seen in November.

"The shorter selling month in December means that a drop from November sales volumes is a normal part of the seasonal pattern; however, the 10-year average fall is 13.6 per cent, while this year sales volumes have declined 18.3 per cent from November."

The volume of homes sold in December in the Auckland region was down 21.2 per cent compared to November and the quieter pre-Christmas market could explain the 3.2 per cent fall from November's median price in the region of $620,000.

The only area of the Auckland regions where buyers would get change from half a million would be in ‘Outer Auckland', where the median sale price was $465,000

However, the REINZ data showed a fourth straight month of record median house prices in Canterbury ($395,000) and a third straight month of new records for Waikato / Bay of Plenty ($346,000).

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Compared to November the Canterbury median price increased by $5250 (up 1.3 per cent) with only North Canterbury seeing a fall in prices.

REINZ regional director, Tony McPherson said the new LVR restrictions appeared to be having an effect, with first-home buyers continuing to sit on the sidelines.

"Investors continue to be active in the market, particularly with ‘as is where is' properties. "Listings and supply are rising slowly and may be due in part of completion of EQC repairs on some properties, allowing properties to be listed for sale," said McPherson.

Southland and Otago had median sale prices of $178,000 and $253,000, respectively.

- The Dominion Post

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