House prices and sales rise across New Zealand, latest index shows

Median house prices and sales increased across New Zealand in November with 10 out of 12 regions recording new transaction highs, according to the latest index figures.

Overall the national median prices reached a record to $520,000 and all but two regions saw double digit growth, the data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows.

Only Auckland and Central Otago Lakes did not post new record median prices. Auckland eased back from a record in October, and Central Otago Lakes median continued to ease following its rapid price increase earlier in the year.

The number of sales for November 2016 was 7,576, an increase of 13% on October. Sales volumes fell 6% compared to November 2015. On a seasonally adjusted basis sales for November fell less than 1%.

‘Sales volumes and prices have recovered in November with strong year on year price growth or record prices in every region and double digit growth across the entire North Island. The nationwide median price has also hit a new high,’ said REINZ spokesperson Bryan Thomson.

Although Auckland prices eased back in November after hitting a record high in October, Thomson pointed out that the underlying trend of Auckland prices remains steadily upward, rising by $269,944 at a compound annual growth rate of 13.2% since the introduction of the first set of LVR rules in October 2013.

Indeed, over the past year, the median house price in Auckland has risen by $86,944. Outside Auckland, the median price has increased by $83,800 since October 2013, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.6%.

Sales volumes were up 13% on October across New Zealand with some parts of the country seeing solid volume growth month on month, including Manawatu/Wanganui up 30%, Northland up 22%, Waikato/ Bay of Plenty up 19% and Hawke’s Bay up 24%.

Despite the earthquakes, sales volumes and median prices also rose in Nelson/Marlborough and Canterbury/Westland. Wellington volumes declined by 1% although the median price in the region hit $500,000 for the first time.

‘The decline in the number of properties for sale year on year continues, but the rate of decline is easing as Spring has progressed,’ Thomson added.

The national median house price rose $60,500 or 13% year on year, to set a new record median of $520,000 and month on month was up 2% or $10,000. Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase in median price compared to November 2015, at 32%, followed by Nelson/Marlborough at 24% and Waikato/Bay of Plenty at 20%.

The number of properties available for sale across all regions in New Zealand fell 19% between November 2015 and November 2016, the data also shows. Wellington has the fewest properties for sale with nine weeks of supply, closely followed by Hawke’s Bay with under 11 weeks supply.

Across the country there is just under four months of supply, with all regions seeing a decline in availability between November 2015 and November 2016.

The number of days to sell remained steady at 32 days compared to November 2015, although the regions have seen some significant movements with five regions seeing an increase in the number of days to sell and seven regions a decrease. Otago and Southland had the shortest number of days to sell in November at 25 days followed by Manawatu/Wanganui and Wellington at 26 days.