Prices hold steady in New Zealand but sales fall, latest monthly index shows
Residential real estate sales volumes have fallen in New Zealand but prices held steady in April, according to the latest monthly index from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
There were 5,670 sales last month, down 20.2% on April last year and down 22.5% compared to March while the national median price was $432,250, an increase of $41,750 compared to April 2013, but a fall of $7,750 from March.
According to REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan, the sharp fall in sales volumes in April has impacted all regions, as well as Auckland and Christchurch where much of the price pressure has been in recent times.
She explained that the fall in April compared to March 2014 and April 2013 deepens the underlying trend for easing sales volumes. April is generally a softer month for real estate sales coming off the back of a generally strong March and with the added complications of school holidays and Easter.
‘However, these factors cannot explain the entire drop between April this year and April last year. The volume of sales has retreated to 2012 levels, and is the seventh lowest April volume recorded by REINZ,’ she said.
The data also shows that the number of sales in the sub $400,000 category continue to fall faster than the market overall but at the same time there is increasing activity in the $1 million plus category, not only in Auckland but in a number of other centres as well.
All regions recorded falls in sales volume compared to March with Southland recording the largest fall of 28.7%, followed by Auckland with 27.2%. Compared to April 2013 all regions recorded a fall in sales volume with Manawatu/Wanganui recording the largest fall of 29.4%, followed by Otago with a fall of 24.3% and Taranaki with a fall of 24%.
While the total number of sales was down 20.2% compared to April 2013, the number of sales below $400,000 fell by 31.6%. This follows a fall in sales below $400,000 of 21.9% between March 2013 and March 2014.
The national median house price fell by $7,750 or1.8%, from $440,000 in March, to $432,250 in April. Compared to April 2013 the national median house price increased by $41,750 or 10.7%, with eight regions recording an increase in the median price.
Some 70% of the increase in the national median price compared to April last year occurred in Auckland, with Canterbury/Westland contributing 15% of the increase and Waikato/Bay of Plenty contributing 13%. Together these three regions accounted for 88% of the increase in the median price between April 2013 and April 2014.
Northland recorded the largest increase in median price compared to April 2013, with a 16.8% increase, followed by Canterbury/Westland with an 11.9% increase and Waikato/Bay of Plenty with a 10.5% increase. Compared to March, Northland also recorded the largest increase in median price, up 12.5%, followed by Southland with 8% and Taranaki with 6.9%.
The REINZ Stratified Housing Price Index, which adjusts for some of the variations in the mix that can impact on the median price, is 8.5% higher than April 2013, at a new record of 3971.2. The Auckland Index has risen 15.2% compared to April 2013, with the Christchurch Index up 13.6% and the Wellington Index up 1%.
Properties took one day less to sell in April compared to March at 34 days. Compared to April 2013, the median number of days to sell was steady at 34 days. Four regions saw an improvement in the number of days to sell between April 2013 and April 2014, with Central Otago Lakes recording the largest improvement of 10 days. Auckland saw its number of days to sell remain steady at 30 days.
In April Canterbury/Westland recorded the shortest days to sell at 28 days, followed by Auckland at 30 days and Wellington at 34 days. Northland recorded the longest number of days to sell at 65 days, followed by Hawkes Bay with 54 days and Taranaki with 48 days. Over the past 10 years the median days to sell for the month of April has averaged 36 days across New Zealand.