Christchurch houses selling fastest in NZ

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 13:14 16/01/2013

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Christchurch houses are the fastest-selling in New Zealand, despite being pricier than ever, as demand continues to outstrip supply.

Competition among buyers pushed up Christchurch's median price to a record $379,000 last month, the Real Estate Institute says.

This is up 9.5 per cent on the previous year and 17 per cent above prices at the time of the February 2011 earthquake.

The institute's figures showed Christchurch houses are selling the fastest in the country, changing hands in a median of 27 days.

There were 498 sales in the city and 799 in the region last month, both up slightly on the previous December.

House prices have been rising steadily in the region since mid-2011, when the first batch of properties were red- zoned, leaving houses in short supply.

Christchurch valuer Bevan Fleming, of Valuation Solutions, said the shortage was worst in the under-$375,000 bracket.

"There are a lot of new homes coming on to the market and a lot of sections, but not everyone is in that price bracket, and finding those affordable homes is pretty hard," he said.

"There's simply not enough supply, and I just don't know where that supply is going to come from."

Fleming said there were "numerous examples" of multiple offers on homes for sale, and this was boosting prices.

Investors attracted by rising rents were getting into the market alongside homeowners, adding to the price inflation.

Sales were buoyant in most parts of the city, although the eastern suburbs were "patchy", Fleming said.

Institute spokesman and Ray White agent Tony McPherson said the market strongly favoured sellers.

"Our biggest issue is a lack of properties to sell. Certainly there is a lot of inquiry about properties on the market and big numbers through open homes," he said.

Demand in and around the city has helped push up the median price for the Canterbury-Westland region to a record $351,000, with big annual rises recorded in South Canterbury and Mid-Canterbury.

The average section price in the region was $155,000.

Valuation agency Quotable Value's latest report put the average house value in Christchurch at just over $400,000, with values rising most in the southwest of the city and in the hill suburbs.

December median prices:

Christchurch $379,000.

North Canterbury $315,000.

Mid-Canterbury $277,500.

Timaru $250,500.

South Canterbury $225,000.

West Coast $220,000.

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- The Press

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