New Zealand house sale prices and turnover rose in February from a year earlier as Auckland's cooling property market stoked interest across the rest of the country.
The median sale price increased 4.7 percent in February to $450,000 from the same month a year earlier, while the number of properties sold was up 18 percent to 7,291, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Auckland sales dropped 18 percent to 1,936, while the median sales price was up 11 percent to $750,000, moderating from an annual increase of more than 20 percent last year.
While Auckland's market continued to slow, the slack was picked up elsewhere with new record median prices set in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, and Nelson/Marlborough, all of which posted double-digit volumes growth along with Northland, Manawatu/Wanganui, Taranaki, Otago and Southland.
"The Reinz data for February sales underlines the surge of activity in regional markets over the past six months with a number of regions recording strong increases in sales volumes compared to this time last year," chief executive Colleen Milne said in a statement. "The Canterbury/Westland and Auckland region, which were previously the drivers of the national real estate market, are now playing second fiddle to markets such as Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay and Central Otago Lakes."
Auckland's housing market has been propped up by record inbound migration, while several years of under-investment left a shortage of supply to cope with that increase in demand. That imbalance spurred the Reserve Bank and government to impose curbs to sap investor demand, while at the same time the Crown has been designating certain areas for a fast-tracked consenting process.
When introducing the Auckland-specific curbs, the Reserve Bank also lifted the loan-to-value ratio restrictions on lending outside the country's biggest city.