Canterbury homes the fastest-selling

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 17:54 12/05/2014

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The housing market is holding steady in Christchurch and across Canterbury, despite economic moves aimed at cooling inflation.

New Real Estate Institute data put the median (mid-point) Canterbury-Westland price last month at $395,000, nearly 12 per cent up on a year ago, while the city's median of $412,500 was 10 per cent up from last year. 

While the medians were slightly lower than in March, the institute's price-tracking index set a record for the city.

Sales in April were down and prices were ''still firm'', the institute said. 

Last week valuation agency Quotable Value put the city's average house value at $451,000.

Across most of the country, Reserve Bank lending restrictions and hiked interest rates have slowed the housing market and sales volumes have dropped off sharply.

The New Zealand median price for April according to the institute was $432,250.

Regional institute director Tony McPherson said Canterbury first home buyers were becoming more active in the market, and there was ''continuing good demand from investors''. 

''The pool of listings is continuing to increase as more homes are repaired and come to market," he said.

Homes sold in a median of four weeks, the fastest in the country.

A total of 786 homes changed hands in the region last month, of which about 150 sold at auction.

The fall-off in sales nationally was partly attributed to the number of public and school holidays falling during the month. Westpac chief economist Michael Gordon said ''the jury remains out'' on house prices nationally.

While real estate inflation was showing signs of slowing earlier this year, there could be a modest ''second wind'' ahead, Gordon said.

Canterbury-Westland's median section price last month was $184,609, the second highest in the country behind Auckland and Central Otago lakes.

Christchurch's dearest neighbourhoods were the hill suburbs, and the cheapest were the inner eastern suburbs.

Median house prices around the South Island included:  

- North Canterbury country, $380,500

- Central Canterbury country, $518,00

- Mid-Canterbury, $310,000

- Timaru, $289,000

- South Canterbury country, $247,000

- West Coast, $190,000

- Nelson-Marlborough, $360,000

- Central Otago lakes, $450,000

- Otago, $241,500

- Southland, $189,000

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