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Sales up almost 20%, led by surge in auctions

The New Zealand real estate market is climbing out of the doldrums, with September written sales up 19.8% on the year earlier, according to Harcourts.

"Many markets are now experiencing multiple buyers on properties which supports the 3.7% increase in the average sale price," said Harcourts New Zealand chief executive Hayden Duncan.
One consequence of the more buoyant market has been an increase in the popularity of auctions as the preferred method of sale.
Of the five regions Harcourts reports on, four have seen double-digit rises in auctions in the year to September 2011 with only the central North Island seeing a fall, down 13.5%.
The increase in auction activity is especially pronounced in Christchurch, where "auctions and tender results are up an amazing 151% this month."
Listings are up by 38.3%, the highest level since August 2010, and written sales are up 56.6%.
The average property price in Christchurch has fallen by 1.2%, from $385,982 in September 2010 to $381,188.
In the northern North Island auctions are up 28.1%, a method of sale Harcourts says has helped the average sale price to rise to one of the highest points since November 2010 at $520,466.
For central North Island Harcourts says property availability is becoming an issue.
"With prices firming and such a short supply for buyers, now is the time to take your property to market."
The average property price in the region has risen 3.9% in the year to September 2011, up to $320,554 from $308,650.
The capital continues to resist the confidence seen in other parts of the country with sales volumes "surprisingly low given prices are firming throughout the region."
The number of new listings was down 8.8% while the average price rose 2.3% from $354,458 to $362,564.
The South Island provincial has seen increased sales activity with written sales up 19.8%, the highest rise in the country for a second month compared to last year. Auction numbers are also up 16.7% and the average price has risen 7.1%, up from $281,212 to $301,304.

Tags: harcourts - south island - hayden duncan