Record median home prices recorded in four regions in New Zealand

Four regions in New Zealand saw record sale prices in July with the average median value up to $505,000, according to the latest data to be published.

It means that the median sale price increased by $5,000, just $1,000 short of the record median price reached in May 2016, the data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows.

The Waikato/Bay of Plenty region recorded its eighth record median sale price in nine months, reaching $450,000, up 2.7% on June 2016, while the median price in Auckland reached $825,000, up 0.5%. Northland reached $376,000, up 4.4% and Manawatu/Wanganui reached $265,000, up 6.4%.

The data also shows that inventory continues to fall rapidly nationwide, with a 33% decline in properties available for sale year on year and six regions seeing falls of greater than 40%.

Wellington and Hawke’s Bay each have less than 10 weeks of supply available, with Waikato/Bay of Plenty at just on 10 weeks supply. At the same time, the number of residential dwelling sales for July 2016 was 7,299, a drop of 7% on June. Sales volumes also fell 10% compared to July 2015, with sales for Auckland falling just over 20% compared to July last year.

‘Prices continue to rise in many regions, showing that demand is still firm. Sales volumes remain below previous periods, as the continued shortage of supply impacts buyers, who are struggling to find properties to buy,’ said REINZ spokesperson Bryan Thomson.

‘We will watch market reaction with interest as the expected increase in listing numbers during the spring and summer selling period become available and the market assesses the impact of the recently announced LVR rule changes, the approval or otherwise of the Auckland Unitary Plan and possible interest rate cut,’ he explained.

‘We understand that it must get very confusing for people with so much data available on the real estate market. REINZ data provides the most up to date and complete set of detailed numbers on national sale prices and trends, plus the factors that underpin them. The key thing is to watch the trends over time, and particularly the seasonally adjusted numbers, as they take month on month changes out of the equation and focus on how the market is really moving,’ he added.

A breakdown of the figures shows that the national median house price rose $40,000 or 9% to $505,000 from July 2015 to July 2016. Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase in median price compared to July 2015, at 32%, followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty at 26% and Northland at 16%.

Auckland prices up, volumes come off, inventory stays tight Compared to July 2015 the median price across the Auckland region rose by $90,000, up 12% to a new record high of $825,000. On a seasonally adjusted basis Auckland's median price rose 1% compared to June.

Although sales volumes in the Auckland region fell 8% compared to June, and fell 20% compared to July 2015, on a seasonally adjusted basis the volume of sales in the Auckland region fell 4% compared to June. This takes into account low levels of available inventory across the Auckland region, which have increased slightly, but are still at historic lows of below 10 weeks supply.

The number of properties available for sale across all regions in New Zealand has continued to fall between July 2015 and July 2016. Wellington has the fewest properties for sale with just under six weeks of supply, closely followed by Hawke’s Bay with nine weeks supply and Auckland and Waikato/Bay of Plenty with 10 weeks.

The number of days to sell has only improved by two days at the national level over the past 12 months, although the regions have seen some significant improvements with seven regions seeing a decrease of 20% or more in the number of days to sell. Auckland and Canterbury/Westland were the only regions to see a lengthening of the number of days to sell over the past 12 months.

Million dollar homes show the largest increase in volumes. Reflecting nationwide price increases, the number of homes sold for more than $1m between July 2015 and July 2016 increased by 12% to 1,015 homes. Equally, the proportion of sales of homes under $600,000 has declined from 65% to 60%. The proportion of sales of homes under $400,000 declined by 4% year on year.