House sales down, prices up

Waikato house sales were down and prices were up for March, the busiest month of the year.

Real Estate Institute (REINZ) statistics for March 2014 show there were 17.5 per cent fewer sales than in March last year across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

Meanwhile the average house price rose 7.4 per cent to $349,000.Monthly sales in Hamilton city dropped 6.5 per cent and prices increased 9.6 per cent to $375,000 compared to March last year.

Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said the changes are paradoxical, because price normally decreases when sales volume drops.

Harcourts Hamilton general manager Brian King said the Reserve Bank's LVR caps on low-deposit mortgages meant there were less buyers in the low end of the market.

This also increased the average price because most sales are at the higher end.

The REINZ report said the trend of increasing prices in the region remains steady.

REINZ regional director Philip Searle said: ''Although some vendors are looking for higher prices, the market is not as willing to support price increases.''Nationally, sales of houses under $400,000 dropped 21.9 per cent.

Simon Lugton of Lugton's Real Estate said the price of new homes in north east Hamilton caused the monthly sales volume of Hamilton houses between $550,000 and $700,000 to almost double compared to the previous 13 months.