Improving house sales point to NZ recovery

By Anne Gibson

Experts report gradual pick-up in market led by Auckland, Wellington and Otago. Photo / APN
Experts report gradual pick-up in market led by Auckland, Wellington and Otago. Photo / APN

National house sale prices jumped $10,000 last month, pushing up the median and leading economists to conclude a recovery is well under way.

Following strong figures from QV this month, new Real Estate Institute figures show the national median rose from $350,000 to $360,000, listings stayed tight and agents complained of stock shortages.

QV said Auckland house prices had surpassed the peak of 2007. It uses a three-month residential price index whereas the institute compares one month to another, using median figures.

It said Auckland had prices rising in many areas, stronger volumes and high demand.

ANZ Bank spokesman Mark Smith said the recovery was patchy, with volumes growing in Wellington, Auckland and Otago but falling in Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Southland.

And while sales in Canterbury fell 20 per cent from May to June, activity was considerably above April levels, he said.

"Sales have continued to lift from their late 2010 trough but remain around 20 per cent below historical averages as a portion of the dwelling stock. However, the 16 per cent increase in sales volumes since April suggests the market is on an improving trajectory," he said.

Nick Tuffley of ASB said the underlying picture of the market remained of a gradual pick-up in demand, with turnover outside Canterbury up further and the days taken to sell edging down.

"House prices are starting to register increases in Auckland, up 4.9 per cent year-on-year," Mr Tuffley said.

The REINZ said it took 45 days to sell a house in May but 44 days in June.

Helen O'Sullivan, its chief executive, said the data showed a gradual change.

"The June results show activity levels are recovering slowly, with prices more or less flat, but we are getting strong indications from agents in many of our regions that the supply of properties is really tightening.

"Rather than an influx of buyers, we are seeing very low levels of listings as sellers continue to sit on their assets."

Trade Me showed Auckland rents grew 9 per cent from the second quarter of last year to this year's second quarter. Auckland was a "standout great place to be a landlord," said the site's property head, Brendon Skipper.

Rents nationally grew 3 per cent and supply grew 2 per cent, he said.

- NZ Herald

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