After months of being told to lower expectations, people trying to sell their homes are pushing asking prices up even higher - now asking for money not seen since the peak of the property boom in 2007.
The national median asking price for listed homes in last month was $399,000, matching the pre-recession peak of October 2007, says property listing site Realestate.co.nz, in its monthly "NZ Property Report".
It says the largest regional increases in median asking prices occurred in Gisborne, where prices were up 21.5 per cent on March last year, Northland, up 13.2 per cent, Nelson up 12.7 per cent and Central Otago/Lakes where asking prices were up 10.8 per cent.
Auckland and Central Otago/Lakes remain the most expensive parts of the country, with median asking prices of $509,000 and $575,000 respectively. Coromandel saw the biggest drop in median asking price, down 12 per cent on March 2008, while Southland had New Zealand's lowest median asking price of $215,000.
Realestate.co.nz chief executive, Alistair Helm said the "current state of flux" in the property market could be setting unattainable price expectations in the minds of vendors as to the worth of their properties.
"Contributing factors include recent media speculation that the market may be turning the corner, along with the lower interest rates that have been available through much of the first quarter."
Helm said the relative shortage of new listings in a competitive market "forces agents to secure new property listings by agreeing to list at what may turn out to be unrealistically high asking prices set by the vendor."
"It remains to be seen whether the market meets these expectations."
During March, new residential property listings were up 12 per cent from February - but these numbers were down 17 per cent on the same month last year
See the full report here