Figures released today reveal the number of homes sold at auction in the Bay of Plenty has increased by nearly half compared to last year.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures for July show the number of residential dwelling sales in New Zealand was 7299, a drop of 7 per cent on June. Sales volumes also fell 10 per cent compared to July 2015, with sales for Auckland falling just over 20 per cent compared to July last year.

Of this, 1674 dwellings were sold by auction nationally in July, representing 23 per cent of all sales, a decrease of 221 (-12 per cent) on the number of auctions in July 2015.

In the Bay of Plenty and Waikato region, the number of auctions increased by 46 per cent compared to July 2015, and by 69 per cent across the rest of New Zealand excluding Auckland.

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Real Estate Institute of New Zealand regional director Philip Searle said that "Any impact on investor activity due to the announcement of new LVR restrictions will be interesting to see, although underlying first home buyer demand remains solid with the changes to the Kiwisaver rules for first home buyers''.

''The shortage of listings remains acute in some parts of the region, with the limited availability of properties restricting choice and generating continuing competition between buyers."