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Sales numbers up but prices ease: REINZ

More houses were sold last month than in any April for six years, the Real Estate Institute says.

There were 7104 sales nationwide last month, 25% more than the same time last year. But the national median price eased 2.4% from March’s record high. It was still 7% higher than April 2012.

REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said there had been a notable surge in prices and sales of mid-level homes in many parts of the country.

She said: “Several regions appear to be benefiting from the tail-wind generated by the strength of house prices in Auckland and Christchurch.” 

But price rises in  Auckland and Canterbury are having a major impact on the national picture. Together, Auckland and Canterbury accounted for 92% of the increase in the national median price over the past 12 months. 

All but one region recorded increases in sales volume compared to April last year. Manawatu/Wanganui recorded an increase of 36.5%, followed by Taranaki with 36.2% and Nelson/Marlborough with 34.2%.  Four regions recorded an increase in sales volume in April compared to March. Central Otago Lakes recorded an increase of 11.3%, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui with 2.0% and Southland with an increase of 0.7%.

The national median house price fell by $9500 from $400,000 in March, to $390,500 in April.

Compared to April 2012, Taranaki recorded the largest increase in median price, up 15.9%, followed by Auckland with 13.3%, and Canterbury/Westland with 10.0%.  Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest fall, down 10.1%, followed by Hawkes Bay, down 6.4% and Nelson/Marlborough, down 2.2%.

The REINZ Stratified Housing Price Index, which adjusts for some of the variations in mix that can impact on the median price, is 9.8% higher than April 2012 and increased 0.8% compared to March. 

Houses took three days longer to sell in April, compared to March, easing to 34 days. Compared to April 2012, the number of days to sell improved by three days. 

For the month of April, Canterbury/Westland recorded the shortest days to sell at 27 days, followed by Auckland at 30 days, and Wellington and Nelson/Marlborough at 35 days.  Central Otago Lakes recorded the longest number of days to sell at 57 days, followed by Northland with 56 days and Manawatu/Wanganui with 49 days.  Over the past 10 years the median days to sell for the month of April has averaged 36 days across New Zealand.

Nationally there were 1368 dwellings sold by auction in April representing 19.3% of all sales – the third highest number of auction sales in a month and an 85.1% increase on the number of dwellings sold by auction in April 2012. 

Across New Zealand the total value of residential sales, including sections, was $3.5 billion in April, compared to $4.11 billion in March, and $2.57 billion in April 2012.  For the 12 months ended April 2013 the total value of residential sales was $36.63 billion.

Tags: helen o’sullivan