NZ house sales, prices rise in May   12 Jun 2012

Paul McBeth

 

New Zealand house sales and prices both rose last month on the continued strength of the Auckland and Canterbury property markets, according to Real Estate Institute figures.

The number of sales rose 24 percent to 7,175 in May compared to the same month a year ago, and was up from 5,676 in April, REINZ said in a statement. The national median sale price rose 5.4 percent to $369,000, and was up $4,000 from a month earlier.

The REINZ stratified house price, which irons out peaks and troughs in pricing information, rose 1.7 percent to 3390.6, and is up an annual 6.4 percent.

"The increase is considerably stronger than normal seasonal trends would suggest," REINZ president Helen O'Sullivan said. "The strength of the real estate market continues to be focused on Auckland and Canterbury."

Auckland and Christchurch's tight housing supply has been cited as the cause of a rebound in the property market over the past year, as growing demand outpaces a shortage of new listings and new construction remains light.

The number of sales in Auckland climbed 28 percent to 2,792, while the median sale price rose 7.8 percent to a record $500,000 from May 2011. Canterbury sales surged 56 percent to 1,021, with the median price rising 8.8 percent $33,500.

ASB economist Jane Turner said the "underlying trend in housing market turnover is one of gradual improvement," with low interest rates likely to stoke demand.

"The RBNZ (Reserve Bank) is expecting to see around 5 percent annual house price inflation over the coming year (on the more stable quarterly QV house price index), although with momentum continuing to build the risks are house prices growth faster than this," she said.

The number of sales in Wellington climbed 28 percent to 735 in May from the same month a year earlier, though the median sale price was down 1.7 percent at $368,750. Dunedin sales rose 7.8 percent to 179, with the median sale price falling 2.6 percent to $250,000.

REINZ said the national median time to sell rose to 38 days from 37 days in April, but was seven days faster than a year earlier.

(BusinessDesk)

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