House prices ease from December high

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013

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Christchurch's median house price is still about 6 per cent up on a year ago despite having fallen from its December all-time high, the Real Estate Institute says.

January sales figures show the median (mid-point) house price for the city was $356,800, down 6 per cent from a record $379,000 in December but well up on the $337,444 recorded a year ago.

Institute director Tony McPherson described the Christchurch market as "very active, particularly in the northern and western suburbs".

"Listings continue to be a problem in the city, with spillover demand continuing to drive activity in surrounding areas such as Rolleston and Rangiora," he said. Properties zoned technical category 3 (the most damage-prone technical category) were starting to sell to first-home buyers and investors.

The median January house price for Canterbury-Westland was $344,000, down 2 per cent from $351,000 in December and up from $325,000 in January last year.

There were 634 sales in the region, up from 549 a year ago, and homes sold in a median of 33 days. Christchurch had 355 sales, compared with 282 a year ago.

State-owned valuer Quotable Value said yesterday that house values in Christchurch had risen by 7.1 per cent in the past year as buyers competing for properties pushed up prices.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said a shortage of homes and low interest rates were behind rising house prices nationwide. "House prices will keep rising so long as interest rates remain low," he said.

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