New Zealand sees highest volume of house sales for month of March since 2007

Taylor Scott International News

Residential property sales in New Zealand in March were up 27.6% in March and 20.3% compared to a year ago, according to the latest index from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. This the highest March sales volume since 2007 and prices are also going upwards with the national median price for March $475,000, an increase of $35,000 or 8% compared to March 2014 and an increase of $45,000 or 10.5% from February. However, it is clear that a strong market in Auckland is leading the growth. Excluding the impact of the Auckland region, the national median price was flat compared to February at $350,000 and $5,000 or 1.4% higher compared to March 2014. ‘March is the strongest sales month of the year, with almost 1,400 more sales than for any of the past 12 months. While the increase in the number of sales is more or less spread across the country, the movement in the national median price is almost entirely an Auckland effect,’ said REINZ chief executive Colleen Milne. ‘Auckland has posted a record number of auction sales in March, with almost one in two sales by auction. Our data shows that on a suburb by suburb basis auctions sell for a premium compared to other sales,’ she pointed out. ‘We also see in the data a noticeable spike in the number of sales over $1 million in Auckland. These two effects explain, at least in part, the jump in the national median and Auckland median prices for March, although the underlying demand pressures remain and supply continues to be restrained by low numbers of new listings,’ she explained. ‘Across the rest of the country, sales volumes and median prices are far better balanced, with a number of regions reporting good sales numbers, good listings and plenty of activity. The national median price, excluding Auckland, has remained at $350,000 for the past two months, indicating that supply and demand are far more balanced outside of Auckland,’ she added. All regions apart from Central Otago Lakes recorded an increase in sales volume compared to February, with Auckland recording the largest of 56%, followed by Taranaki with 50% and Southland with 39%. In comparison with March 2014, all regions recorded increases in sales volume, with Waikato/Bay of Plenty recording the largest, of 41%, followed by Central Otago Lakes with 27% and Hawkes Bay and Manawatu/Wanganui with 23% each. Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase in median price compared to March 2014, at 21%, followed by Auckland at 13.0% and Taranaki at 11%. Compared to February, Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase from February, at 13%, followed by Auckland at 7% and Canterbury/Westland at 3%. The REINZ Stratified Housing Price Index, which adjusts for some of the variations in the mix that can affect the median price, is 9.5% higher than in March 2014, at 4,340.9. The Auckland Index rose 20% compared to March 2014, the Christchurch Index 5% and… Taylor Scott International

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