New Zealand’s median house price reached a new record of $389,000 in December, up almost 10% on December 2011, the Real Estate Institute says.
It released its latest report today and said ongoing strong demand drove robust sales volume growth in the residential property market during 2012.
The number of sales for the year was up 21% on 2011 and was at the highest level since 2007.
But REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said that despite the strong growth in sales volume, the number of sales compared to the total number of dwellings in New Zealand was well below the long run average and substantially below the peak volume of 2003 when more than 120,000 residential properties were sold.
She said the key drivers of the 2012 real estate market were Auckland and Canterbury/Westland, which combined to make up more than half of the market’s activity.
“The strength of these two regions is starting to spill over into other parts of the country with Central Otago Lakes and Wellington both seeing more invigorated markets, particularly in terms of sales volumes. ”
She said a key development of the year was the increase in the number of properties sold by action. It grew by more than two-thirds compared to 2011.
O’Sullivan said: “The growth in auction sales has been particularly strong in Auckland where almost two of every five sales are now by auction. The trend in auctions is evidence of the continued tightness of some parts of the residential real estate market where demand is increasing, but supply remains constrained.”
REINZ data showed there were 5754 unconditional residential sales in December, an increase of 438 sales compared with the same time the year before but a fall of 22.8% compared to November 2012. On a seasonally adjusted basis December’s sales were about in line with November and 14.8% higher than December 2011.
Eight regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to December in 2011, with Northland recording an increase of 37.2%, followed by Auckland with 18.7% and Central Otago Lakes with 18.4%. All regions recorded falls in sales volume in December compared to November - with Northland recording the shallowest fall of 8.8%.
The national median house price increased by $5,750, from $383,250 in November, to a new record high of $389,000 in December, an increase of 1.5%. Auckland’s median house price eased by $5,000 to $535,000. The national median house price is up 9.6% compared to December 2011, while the Auckland median price is up 10.5% compared to December in the previous year.
For the month of December, Nelson/Marlborough recorded the largest lift in prices for the month with an increase of 8.3%, followed by Central Otago Lakes 5.9%, and Taranaki with 5.4%. Compared to December 2011, Auckland recorded the highest lift in prices with an increase of 10.5%, followed by Canterbury/Westland with 8.0% and Northland with 6.3%.