Rotorua Property Investors' Association

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Auckland leads national sales volumes up, but prices down

The housing market saw a further lift in volumes in May, with the seasonally adjusted number of sales up 2.6% on April, according to the latest REINZ report.

Across the country 5,766 unconditional sales were reported for May, up 799 on April and 560 more than May 2010.

The national median house price stood at $350,000, equal to May 2010 but down $10,000 on the April 2011 figure.

"The May results show further steady increases in volumes across New Zealand with particular strength coming from the Auckland market," said REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan.

"Although prices eased slightly, there are signs of pressure building, with a lack of new listings becoming apparent in many parts of the city."

Across New Zealand the Manawatu/Wanganui region saw the strongest rise in prices, up 4.5% over may, though most regions saw a slight decline in prices in line with the national median.

There were also strong lifts in sales across a number of North Island regions, with South Island regions experiencing a fall in volumes after a strong April performance.

Despite volumes rising from previous levels the real estate market is only just starting to emerge from a sustained slump in activity. The number of May sales was just 62% of the volumes in the month of May 2007 (5,776 against 9,285).

For the 12 months to May 2007 there were 105,886 sales compared to 55,389 for the 12 months to May 2011.

The national median days to sell eased from 43 days in April to 54 days in May, compared with 43 days in May 2010. Auckland again recorded the shortest days to sell at 36 days, with Canterbury/Westland next shortest at 41 days. Central Otago Lakes recorded the longest number of days to sell at 89 days, with Northland next longest at 79 days. Most regions recorded an easing in the number of days to sell, with only Canterbury/Westland and Southland showing an improvement.

The REINZ Housing Price Index fell 1.8% in May compared with April 2011, with the stratified median house price at just under $359,000. The Index recorded increases in Christchurch and Other North Island, but falls in Auckland, Wellington and Other South Island.

Compared to May 2010, the Index fell 0.7% and is now 5.8% below the November 2007 peak.

Across the country in May the total value of residential sales, including sections, rose to $2.46 billion, compared to $2.21 billion in April and $2.27 billion in May 2010.

The bulk of properties sold in May were below $400,000 (60.2%). Houses valued between $400,000 and $599,000 accounted for 24.6% of sales, $600,000 to $999,999 21.1% of sales and $1 million plus properties 3.1%.


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