House sales fall from six-year high in April

Real estate agents sold 13 per cent fewer houses last month than in March. Photo / Greg Bowker
Real estate agents sold 13 per cent fewer houses last month than in March. Photo / Greg Bowker

The number of New Zealand house sales slipped from a six-year high last month, with prices deflating a little, though the national market is still being driven by the country's two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch.

Agents sold 7,104 houses in April, down 13 per cent from March, though up by 25 per cent from the same month last year, according to the Real Estate Institute. The national median sale price slipped 2.4 per cent to $390,500 in April, though were up 7 per cent from 2012. Of the annual gains in the median sale price, about 92 per cent has come from Auckland and Christchurch.

"Auckland and Canterbury remain the two regions driving the national median price, a point recognised by the Reserve Bank," chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said in a statement. "We also note that the remaining 10 regions accounted for only 8 per cent of the increase in the national median, with four of those regions recording falls."

The Reserve Bank said in its financial stability report that it is considering limits on high loan-to-value home mortgages, which could pose a significant risk to country's financial stability.

Last week state valuer Quotable Value said Auckland property values have climbed 12 per cent to $628,205 in the latest 12 months. At the time, QV operations manager Kerry Stewart said demand in parts of Auckland was "so high that there is little opportunity to delay making offers."

REINZ figures show Auckland's median sale price slipped to $555,000 in April from $562,000 a month earlier, up from $490,000 a year ago. The number of house sales fell 16 per cent to 2,805 from a month earlier, and were up by 30 per cent from April 2012.

Canterbury/Westland's median sale price fell to $353,000 in April from $359,000 in March, and was up from $321,000 a year earlier. The number of house sales fell 5.8 per cent to 934 from a month earlier, and were up 17 per cent from April 2012.

The REINZ stratified median housing price index, which smoothes out peaks and troughs, rose 0.8 per cent from March, and was up an annual 9.8 per cent. Auckland's stratified housing price was up an annual 14 per cent and Christchurch's climbed 13 per cent.

The number of days to sell rose 3 days to 34 days in April from March.

- BusinessDesk

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 02 Oct 2014 17:08:19 Processing Time: 285ms