New home buyers pour into Hawke's Bay

By Brendan Manning

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Hawke's Bay house prices are sending new home buyers onto the property ladder in droves, resulting in a surge in sales.

Sales in the region were up last month, with 229 properties sold - compared with 185 in September and 155 in October 2011.

The median sale price for Hawke's Bay eased last month to $258,500. That was down from $263,000 in September and $259,500 for the same time last year.

Property Brokers Hawke's Bay regional manager Paul Whitaker said rents had risen in Hawke's Bay, making investment properties a more appealing purchase.

"More people are getting onto the bottom of the ladder."

The surge in activity had also slashed the average "days to sell" figure, which fell by 10 in October to 36 days.

"Although prices aren't moving up, the sales definitely are increasing across the board and that's due to a lot more buyer confidence at the bottom end," Mr Whitaker said.

"I think we will continue to see that follow through for many more months to come."

The average QV value for a Hastings property is currently $292,130 - up 2.2 per cent year-on-year. The biggest rise in the region was in Central Hawke's Bay - up 7.3 per cent to $213,526.

Tremain Real Estate director Simon Tremain said the market volume had been excellent but the month was somewhat of an "anomaly".

"There are a number of Housing Corporation properties that sold and they were obviously at the low end of the market, and that's actually pulled the median price back," he said.

It was hard to judge on a month-by-month basis but he expected a "big increase" in the median price next month.

Nationwide, sales surged in the past month and prices hit a new record median high.

The national median house price increased by $9000 in October to $380,000 - a 2.4 per cent rise - with Auckland recording a new peak of $530,000.

More than 6600 properties changed hands last month.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O'Sullivan, said the springtime surge in new listings was struggling to keep pace with buyer demand.

Sales volumes rose across the country in October but prices did not automatically follow.

"The market is very much in two parts - the metropolitan regions of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch where prices are rising and the rest of the country where price trends are mixed."

The total value of residential sales, including sections, was $3.15 billion in October, compared to $2.62 billion the previous month, and $2.15 billion in October 2011.

Meanwhile, the popularity of auctions has continued to rise nationwide, with a new record of sales by auction - 20.2 per cent - met last month.

Nationally, 1343 properties were sold by auction in October. APNZ

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- Hawkes Bay Today

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