Marlborough Property Investors' Association

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Residential market shows signs of stabilising: REINZ

A degree of confidence has returned to the residential real estate market as indicated by April sales figures released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

Institute president, Mike Elford, said the figures reinforce a certain level of stability in relation to price and turnover, and are pleasing particularly as April is traditionally a slower month due to school holidays and seasonal adjustments.

Turnover of housing continues to strengthen from last year's figures although slightly down in April 2009 compared with March totals.

"The figures are not hugely significant, but enough to generate a degree of optimism about the way forward from here," Elford says.

The total number of homes sold nationwide in April (6,210) is down on the March 2009 figure of 6,694 but still well up on the February total of 5,228. This compares with 4,450 in April 2008.

Turnover continues to be strong in Auckland, where 2,081 properties changed hands in April compared with 1,350 in April 2008. Manawatu/Wanganui and Taranaki both saw a rise in the number of sales from March 2009 to April 2009; 283 to 322 and 166 to 188 respectively.

The median price for homes across New Zealand for April 2009 continues the slow steady growth recorded over the past few months. February's $330,000 median figure rose to $335,000 in March and again to $340,000 in April. This compares with the April figure from 2008 of $345,000, a percentage drop of 1.44%.

Regionally, there have been drops in median house prices in most regions. Although, with the exception of Northland (where house prices dropped 19.22% from $359,000 in April 2008 to $290,000 in April 2009); Central Otago Lakes (down 11.89% from $454,000 to $400,000); and Southland (down 11.62% from $215,000 to $190,000) these have been less than 10% compared with April 2008 figures.

There was no change in Waikato/BOP and a drop of 2% or less in Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Canterbury/Westland. Taranaki was up slightly from $269,000 to $270,000.

The length of time it took to sell a house in April, a median of 42, is slightly faster than March at 44 days and 44 days in April 2008.

Regionally, houses are turning over fastest in Auckland (37 days), Taranaki (33 days) and Wellington (40 days). The biggest improvements in days to sell in April were seen in Northland, down form 75 days in March to 67 in April, Waikato/BOP (64 to 58), and Central Otago Lakes (82 to 48).  

House sales continue to be strongest in the under $400,000 price bracket, accounting for nearly 4,000 of the total April sales on 6,210. Properties priced between $400,000 and $599,999 accounted for nearly 1,500 sales. There were 631 sales in the $600,000 to $999,999 bracket and 151 at $1 million and over.