Quieter month for sales

The Nelson residential real estate market has cooled but median prices remain ahead of where they were a year ago.

The latest Real Estate Institute figures for January show regional sales down on December and also lower than January last year. Prices generally fell last month from their December medians but were still higher than in January 2012.

Richmond continued to be the most expensive area, even though the median dropped from $432,000 in December to $400,000 in January. However, this was still 18.4 per cent higher than the year before.

House sales in Richmond eased from 28 in December to 25 in January (18 in 2012).

There was an even sharper fall in sales in Nelson city, which slumped from 82 to 61 last month. This was lower than the 66 sales recorded in January 2102.

Prices were also down, easing from a median of $359,000 to $329,000 in January, although this was still higher than the $318,050 recorded a year earlier.

Motueka prices bucked the regional trend, rising from a median of $294,500 in December to $332,000, which was just shy of its January 2012 mark of $334,500. Sales last month were down a touch from 19 in December to 17 (14 in January 2012).

It took slightly longer to sell a property in the region last month, with the time growing from 35 days in December to 40, but this remained a big improvement on the year before.

Quotable Value prices released this week showed Nelson's prices have risen by 2 per cent in the last three months, while houses in the Tasman region are up by 1 per cent.

The average value of a house in Nelson is $391,051, while the comparable figure for Tasman is $397,650.

Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the Nelson market remained competitive with a limited supply of listings and more buyers.

She said buyers are still coming in from Christchurch in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

Nationally, January house sales reached heights not seen in five years. Institute figures showed 4933 houses sold, a rise of more than 21 per cent on January last year.

Median house prices also rose, up 4.2 per cent compared with January 2012 to $370,000 - but this was down on the record median of $389,999 for December.

Total residential sales, including of sections, topped $2.24 billion with 164 properties selling for more than $1 million.

The Nelson Mail