House sales in Manawatu drop

House sales in Palmerston North are down 17 per cent on the same time last year but prices continue to rise as restrictions on high mortgage lending move into their second month.

The Real Estate Institute says 112 houses were sold in Palmerston North last month, down from 135 in November 2012 and slightly down from 117 in October.

However, houses prices rose by $4250 across the wider Manawatu last month to a median of $219,250.

The numbers echo national figures where house sales were down 6.6 per cent from November last year but house prices again hit new highs, with a national median of $425,000.

Prices nationally are now nearly 11 per cent higher than a year ago but in Manawatu they have dropped by 4.2 percent on the same time last year.

The number of days to sell a house went up by a week, from 37 days in October to 44 days in November.

Over the past 10 years the median number of days to sell across the region in November has averaged 39 days.

Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said restrictions on low-equity lending "may well be a driver of the softer sales figures", with changes appearing at the cheaper end of the market.

"Agents report that the new LVR restrictions have impacted on both buyers and sellers with fewer first home buyers active in the market and sellers uncertain as to whether they will sell their property. The spring surge in listings has not met usual expectations."

In Feilding the number of houses sold dropped from 28 in November 2012 to 20 this November.

In rural Manawatu - which includes Manawatu without Feilding or Palmerston North - went from 36 houses sold last November to 24 this November.

Levin bucked the regional trend with house sale figures for November going from 30 last year to 41 this year.

O'Sullivan said that the overall the trend for Manawatu remained steady.

Manawatu Standard