Houses dearer but snapped up

Canterbury-Westland homes are the fastest selling in the country as a shortage of listings limits sales and pushes up prices, the Real Estate Institute says.

Properties in the region are selling in an average of 28 days and the October median (midpoint) price of $343,000 was 4.3 per cent higher than a year ago.

Canterbury institute director Tony McPherson said lower interest rates were drawing in investors, and agents were seeing more first-home buyers at open homes.

The institute's median sales price for Christchurch was $361,750, less than the record average $397,797 value of houses in the city as calculated by Quotable Value this week.

This indicates that although values in the city are at an all-time high, more cheaper than dearer homes are selling. Within the city, the highest prices were being paid in the hill suburbs, with a median of $553,750, and the cheapest in Aranui, Linwood, Bexley and Bromley, with a median of $223,750.

There were 785 house sales in Canterbury-Westland last month, 12.8 per cent more than a year ago, and 496 in Christchurch, which was up 22 per cent.

The biggest annual house inflation in the region was in Mid-Canterbury and South Canterbury, with rises of 11.7 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively.

The median section price for Canterbury-Westland was $169,000, close to what it was a year ago, and there were 71 section sales for the month.

Throughout the country, the Auckland region had the highest annual inflation with prices up 14 per cent to a median of $530,000.

Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the Auckland market was the strongest in the country.

The median house price nationally was $380,000.

Prices in other southern regions included Nelson-Marlborough $340,000, Otago $240,000, Queenstown Lakes $406,500 and Southland $203,550.