Steady price rises for region's houses

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:00 12/04/2014

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House prices continue to rise in Nelson and Tasman, but not at the same rate as in Auckland and Canterbury, which continue to score record high prices.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand [Reinz] figures for March show that the median house price across Nelson and Tasman increased 3.3 per cent, or $11,500 compared with March 2013, with prices rising the most in Richmond and Nelson.

The median price in Nelson city leapt $20,000 in a month, according to the latest statistics.

Reinz Nelson Marlborough spokesman Darryl Marshall said the indications were an increase in interest in more expensive homes, which was also evident in higher numbers attending open homes in the higher priced categories.

Marshall said it appeared purchasers, and potential buyers were made up of a mix of domestic and overseas, and that Nelson was not far off national trends in price range proximity.

Reinz chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the median price trend was now steady, although the number of houses [volumes] sold continued to ease, despite it still being higher in Nelson city last month than the previous month. In March this year 101 houses were sold in the city, compared with 71 in February.

The trend was different in Richmond and Motueka where there were slightly fewer homes sold over the same period.

The time it took to sell a home in Nelson-Tasman was also now steady.

It took an average 46 days to sell a home in February and 36 days in March.

O'Sullivan said the figures indicated that first home buyer activity remained muted across the region, although in parts investor activity was increasing.

Marshall said if anything, investors were selling as the demographic of babyboomers seemed to be cashing in their investments.

He said that on the whole buyers were prudent and well-informed.

Nelson Property Investors Association secretary Glenn Morris said he had a number of tenants who had moved out of rentals and bought their own home this year and last year, but it had become harder as a result of changes to lending.

"Because there's more demand, rental investors are coming out of their holes again," Morris said.

Around the country open home attendances rose in March although vendors were realistic about price expectations and not overly influenced by the activity in the Auckland market," O'Sullivan said.

Last month Auckland and Canterbury/Westland both recorded new high median prices of $637,000 and $401,000, respectively.

"The results for March further define the divide between the drivers of the current residential market - Canterbury and Auckland - and the rest of the country," O'Sullivan said.

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Nationally there were 7315 dwelling sales in March, down 10 per cent on March last year, but up 19.4 per cent compared with February.

The low levels of stock held by agents in Canterbury and Auckland further suggests that there are not enough homes available to meet the demand.

"There are also clear signs that the national sales volume trend is easing, continuing the trend that began last November."

O'Sullivan said in many of the quieter regions the impact of LVR restrictions on first-home buyers was still reported as strong.

PRICE OF PROPERTY

Median house price March 2013 Feb 2014 March 2014 Nelson city $350,000 $345,000 $365,000 Richmond $405,000 $449,000 $453,000 Motueka $363,000 $338,000 $374,500 

- The Nelson Mail

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