The number of Auckland properties for sale lifted last month while prices fell, but more properties are selling nationally, according to Real Estate Institute data for February just released.

Auckland for-sale inventory rose 20 per cent in the last year and was up 33 per cent in the last month alone and instead of taking 41 days to sell, places are now taking 43 days to sell.

Nationally, 6253 places sold last month, up 45 per cent on January, REINZ said.

"In Auckland, median prices rose a seasonally adjusted +11 per cent (6.7 per cent median change) year-on-year, although the median price dropped $5000 (-1 per cent) during February.

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"The median price rose an average of 10.6 per cent over the past three months, versus 10.5 per cent over the same period a year ago, indicating a very similar performance between the first three months of 2017 and 2016.

"Auckland inventory has risen by 20 per cent (1562 properties) over the past year, rising sharply over the past three months. Over the same period, Auckland sales volumes were 8.9 per cent lower on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"Auction sales dropped from 34.8 per cent of sales in February 2016 to 29.3 per cent in February 2017. Days to sell rose from 41 days to 43 days (against a 10-year average of 41)."

Median house prices firmed slightly and sales volumes lifted across New Zealand during February as the market exited the holiday period.

Two of 12 regions in New Zealand hit new record high median sale prices in February (Northland and Otago), with the national median price rising to $495,000, up by $5,000 from January, a 14.1 per cent year-on-year rise on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"The number of sales for February was 6253, an increase of 45 per cent on January, although on a seasonally adjusted basis sales for February 2017 fell 8.9 per cent compared to February 2016."

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Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, said a mixed pattern was emerging.

"We are seeing a mixed picture across New Zealand. Auckland is mixed: there is something in the market for buyers and sellers.

"For instance, although there are more houses on the market and median prices are rising on a seasonally adjusted basis year-on-year, sales volumes were down in February 9 per cent year-on-year on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"We hear anecdotally that LVRs are having an effect and banks are reducing lending, becoming more selective about who they lend to, what properties they will lend on and the terms. Recent media has noted the lower level of cash incentives being offered by banks, and this ties in with the feedback agents across the country are hearing from their clients," Norwell said.