Hawke's Bay realtors are experiencing strong interest for properties and quick sales as the real estate market heats up for spring.
Listing numbers in Hastings have increased but fell in Napier, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Hawke's Bay spokeswoman Elanor MacDonald said.
"Napier is continuing to have a shortage ... it's getting worse, and in Hastings, it seems to have evened out."
The latest REINZ Market Report showed August sales volumes in Hawke's Bay jumped by close to 20 per cent year-on-year, with solid increases in both Napier and Hastings.
Fewer houses were sold in Napier last month compared with July but this was offset by higher sales in Hastings.
The median sales price increased $5000 year-on-year but fell $14,500 since July.
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan warned of an emerging shortage of Hawke's Bay listings for first-home buyers and investors alike.
"Well-priced properties are selling increasingly quickly as the mood of the market improves."
Nationally, the median house price jumped $9000 from July to August, reaching $370,000 - up 4.2 per cent year-on-year.
"While both Auckland and Christchurch recorded new record median prices during the month, it is the strong sales volume growth in Auckland that is most notable," Ms O'Sullivan said.
Auckland's median house price has reached a new record - up 1.1 per cent to $505,500.
"Across the rest of the country, while we are continuing to see rising sales volumes, prices continue to reflect the general caution around the economic outlook," Ms O'Sullivan said.
There were 6035 properties sold nationally in August, an increase of 843 year-on-year, and up 2.2 per cent from July.
Also breaking records is the amount of houses sold by auction. In total, 1110 properties went under the hammer in August, representing 18.4 per cent of all sales.
The previous record was reached in March, when 16.2 per cent of properties were sold by auction.
The auctions are driven by the fluidity of the market, Ms O'Sullivan said.
"The best way to check the market value of a property is to take it to auction."
Despite the increased level of activity, the housing market was still subdued overall, with prices yet to catch up with increases in the consumer price index over the past five years, Ms O'Sullivan said.
ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the housing market was seeing gradual improvement and mortgage rates were likely to remain low if the situation in Europe did not spark any spectacular crises with global implications.
There was limited scope for interest rates to fall any further. However, a rise was not expected until the middle of next year.
Properties sold in August
209 houses sold, compared with 210 for July and 175 for August 2011.
On average, it took 43 days for a property to sell, compared with 62 for July and 43 for August 2011.
The median house price was $255,000, compared with $269,500 for July and $250,000 for August 2011.
252 $1 million-plus houses sold.
912 $600,000 to $999,999 houses sold.
1507 $400,000 to $599,999 houses sold.