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Prices are up, but where are the listings?

Sales growth is not keeping up with the rise in property prices, the latest Real Estate Institute statistics show.

The number of properties sold in June was exactly the same as the number sold in June 2012. But the national median increase increased another $2000 in June from May and is now $6000 off its March records, at $394,000.

REINZ director Bryan Thomson said Auckland and Canterbury were heavily influencing the national picture.  Canterbury has the largest year-on-year median increase in the country in June, to a new record of $365,000.

Together, Auckland and Canterbury accounted for 99.6% of the $22,000 increase in the national median between June 2012 and last month.

Auckland’s median price is now $555,000, slightly down on the $565,000 last month but well up on last year’s $500,000.

Thomson said: “There appears to be a change in market behaviour, with rising prices and demand for housing in Auckland and Canterbury not being enough to increase the number of listings. While the growth rate in sales in Auckland has averaged around 20% for the past two years, the growth in the number of listings has been almost negligible.”

He said the absence of houses for sale was a problem in most regions of New Zealand but was most acute in Auckland and Canterbury.  He said it would be normal for listings to increase coming out of a downturn but that had not happened.

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said some of the lack of listings could be because more people were opting to hold on to their first homes as rental when they wanted to buy another, rather than selling to trade up.

There were 6135 unconditional sales nationwide in June.  Just over 5% of them went for more than $1 million and 50.9% sold for less than $400,000.

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