Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland defies house price trend

Buyer worry over economy and turmoil in Europe are affecting Auckland property sales, say experts. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Buyer worry over economy and turmoil in Europe are affecting Auckland property sales, say experts. Photo / Paul Estcourt

The median price of houses sold last month throughout New Zealand jumped $9000 - but Auckland bucked the trend with a $10,000 fall.

The Real Estate Institute said the national median went from $350,000 in September to $359,000 but sale numbers rose in only four areas and the market had not picked up much.

Auckland's median fell from $475,000 in September to $465,000 although the number of sales was up a third on last October.

Aucklanders appeared worried about the European political and economic turmoil, interest rates and the general economy, REINZ said.

QV last week discovered house values had made a dramatic recovery and were only 4.4 per cent below the top of the market four years ago.

Helen O'Sullivan, REINZ chief executive, said last month's activity was not that great.

"The volume figures for October suggests that the spring lift widely expected in the real estate market has been muted, but so too has any impact from the Rugby World Cup and European uncertainty.

"Volumes are up strongly compared to this time last year, but that in part reflects a very weak October 2010 when sales volumes were among the lowest in the past 20 years.

"We are seeing plenty of activity, but buyers are still very price-conscious.

"They will move quickly when they find a property that meets their needs, but properties perceived by prospective buyers as overpriced are not generating much interest at all," she said.

Philip Borkin of Goldman Sachs said the rugby tournament was possibly a distraction to house buyers.

"We will look to the November numbers for confirmation of this. But apart from this, it appears activity is largely grinding sideways, although price growth continues to slowly tick higher," he said.

ASB Bank economist Christina Leung said the figures indicated a continued slowing of the pick-up in housing market activity.

"We expect the recovery in the housing market nationwide will occur at a very gradual pace, with further house price increases likely to be modest," she said.

WHAT SOLD

* $1m+: 167 properties

* $600,000 to $900,000: 601

* $400,000 to $599,000: 1306

* Under $400,000: 2933

* Total: 5007

Source: REINZ October residential sales

- NZ Herald

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