More houses sold as prices lower

By Brendan Manning

The number of properties sold in Hawke's Bay has risen while prices continue to drop.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data showed the median sale price in Hawke's Bay last month was $277,000, down from $282,000 in March and well below the median of $296,000 reached in April 2012.

REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the Hawke's Bay region had seen a gradual rise in sales volumes, however, listings remained in short supply - limiting buyer choice.

"The number of buyers is steadily increasing, although this is not yet translating into prices with the price trend continuing to weaken."

Last month's sales volumes in Hawke's Bay jumped 18 per cent compared to April 2012 with increases across the region, Ms O'Sullivan said.

While prices had remained steady in Napier and risen in Dannevirke, Hastings prices have been falling.

Nationwide, the number of residential property sales in April reached its highest level in six years, with sales up 25 per cent compared to April 2012.

REINZ data showed the national median price eased 2.4 per cent to $390,500, after reaching a record high of $400,000 in March.

However, compared to April 2012, the median price jumped $25,500 (7 per cent) year-on-year.

Together, Auckland and Canterbury accounted for 92 per cent of the price increase over the past 12 months.

Ms O'Sullivan said April was notable for a surge in prices and sales of mid-level homes in many parts of the country.

"Several regions appear to be benefiting from the tail-wind generated by the strength of house prices in Auckland and Christchurch."

Overall price levels in Auckland and Canterbury continued to have a major impact on the national picture, with the Auckland region recording the second largest jump in median price - rising 13.3 per cent to $555,000 year-on-year - but easing slightly (1.2 per cent) from the previous month.

Canterbury/Westland median prices jumped 10 per cent year-on-year to $353,000.

As house prices continue to soar, the Reserve Bank has warned it will force home buyers to come up with minimum mortgage deposits in a bid to cool the heated property market - sparking concerns that first-time buyers could be locked out of the property market.

Meanwhile, auctions were increasingly becoming the favourite way to sell with 1368 dwellings nationwide selling under the hammer in April - accounting for nearly 20 per cent of total sales.





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