Prices fall but sales still quick
Canterbury-Westland homes are still the fastest-selling in the country, but January prices were down from a December peak.
The Real Estate Institute said the median (mid-point) house price in the region last month was $370,000, down from $395,000 the previous month and 7.6 per cent higher than a year earlier.
A total of 649 homes sold in January, with sales taking a median of 35 days.
In Christchurch, the median house price was $390,250, down from $420,000 in December and up 9.4 per cent in a year.
Institute director Tony McPherson said the number of first-home buyers remained low but investors were filling the gap. First-time buyer numbers have dropped since new rules last year made low-deposit home loans harder to get.
McPherson said the number of homes for sale was rising as earthquake repairs were completed.
"An increasing number of properties are being sold 'as is, where is' which may become a more prominent feature of the market in coming months."
Within the city, the highest median price was for the hill suburbs with $655,000, while the lowest was for Bexley, Aranui, Bromley and Linwood with $262,000.
Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said prices were down in many parts of the country. She said both seasonal factors and the impact of lending changes were making it "difficult to get an entirely clear steer on the direction of the market".
Median January prices within Canterbury-Westland region:
North Canterbury country $392,000, central Canterbury country $491,250, Mid- Canterbury $297,000, Timaru district $244,250, South Canterbury $254,500, and West Coast $165,000. The region's median section price in January was $171,000.
House prices elsewhere were:
Auckland region $569,000, Wellington region $375,000, Nelson-Marlborough $380,000, Central Otago lakes $427,000, Otago $260,000, and Southland $193,500.