Low interest rates boost house sales

Warmer weather and low interest rates are bolstering first-home buyers and investor confidence in the residential market, First National Real Estate director Mark Stevenson says.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show 99 properties sold in Marlborough and Kaikoura last month, up 48 per cent on the previous month. The figures were also up on October last year, when 67 properties sold.

Mr Stevenson said 44 of the properties sold for less than $250,000 and 30 were in the $250,000-$325,000 bracket, showing the time was right for first-home buyers and investors.

"The volume of sales are weighted at the bottom end of the market, with first-home buyers and investors making up the bulk of buyers," Mr Stevenson said.

"Interest rates are amazingly low, and may even go lower yet," he said.

Spring usually seemed to have a positive effect on buyers, as well, he said.

The figures showed the median value of the residential properties sold in Marlborough and Kaikoura last month was $292,000.

Median prices were well down compared with the same time last year, showing most sales were at the bottom end of the market, Mr Stevenson said.

The median price was down 1.2 per cent compared with $297,000 in September, and 8.4 per cent down on $318,913 in October last year.

The number of days to sell increased slightly to 57, compared with 50 a year ago.

Five houses in the Marlborough Sounds sold last month for a median $420,000, down slightly on October 2011 when five properties sold for a median of $440,000.

Nationally, the median sale price of $380,000 is at record levels and the time taken to sell is 32 days.

Quotable Value (QV) statistics show the average value of all Marlborough properties was $335,466, virtually unchanged from a year ago, and down 1.8 per cent for the past three months.

Nationally, QV statistics show values were up 1.9 per cent over the past three months, 5.7 per cent higher over the past year and 1.1 per cent above the previous market peak of late 2007. Marlborough house prices are still 14.1 per cent lower than the 2007 peak.

The Marlborough Express