Hawke's Bay house sales jumped 40 per cent last month, reflecting a bounce back from a weak June market, new figures show.
Residential house sale figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) show July produced a bumper month of sales in Hawke's Bay and across New Zealand.
Hawke's Bay sales rose to 227, up from 162 in June, with the median price across the region climbing by $3500 to $275,000.
Harcourts Hawke's Bay general manager Pete Meaclem said the jump in sales numbers was not unexpected.
"We do get spikes like that month on month."
His comments follow the Government's unveiling of changes to the KiwiSaver and Welcome Home schemes designed to help more Kiwis into homes.
However, Mr Meaclem said the new measures were unlikely to have a great impact in Hawke's Bay.
"We don't have the stampede that Auckland does from first home buyers."
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said a worsening shortage of Hawke's Bay listings in the most popular price brackets was limiting choice for buyers, coupled with rising price expectations from vendors.
"Compared to last year there are more first home buyers and investors in the market with good attendances at open homes."
Nationally, it was the most active winter the residential market had seen for a while, with the volume of sales higher than expected for this time of year, she said.
"Reports from agents around the country suggest that first home buyers are moving quickly to secure properties ahead of any move by the Reserve Bank to impose lending restrictions on buyers with lower deposits."
Mr Meaclem said first home buyers in Hawke's Bay would get around this by going to second tier lenders such as credit unions.
"We have a lot of buyers that might not have a great savings history or can't get the required deposit. They will tend to go to a second tier lender to get the deposit so they can initially get into the housing market and then once they've got a history of being able to pay back mortgages they will then go to the main trading banks."
Nationwide there were 6777 house sales in July, a six-year high for that month. The national median price fell $9000 - 2.3 per cent - compared to June to $385,000.
It is now $15,000 below the record median set in March.
The figures were released on Monday in the wake of Prime Minister John Key's weekend announcement of changes to the KiwiSaver first-home deposit subsidy and Welcome Home underwriting mortgage scheme.
More people will be eligible to use the KiwiSaver subsidy, and the price-cap of a house for which the subsidies can be used has been increased.
Income eligibility limits for both schemes will change, with a threshold income of $80,000 for a single person buying a house and $120,000 combined for two or more buyers.
While this sees an increased income limit for couples, single buyers face a drop of several thousand dollars, meaning fewer will be eligible to use the schemes.
Median price, number sold
Hawke's Bay - July 2013: $275,000, 227; June 2013: $271,500, 162; July 2012: $269,500, 210
Nationally - July 2013: $385,000, 6777.