House sales got back into gear last month with a rise in prices and number of sales, say to two organisations which track the real estate business.

Real Estate Institute (Reinz) figures showed the national median sale price rose $10,000 to $355,000, and unconditional sales rose 21 per cent to 5192 deals signed.

QV's figures showed Auckland and Christchurch prices up more than elsewhere and listing shortages were the only brakes on those areas.

Auckland values rose 2.8 per cent since January, QV said. On the North Shore, the increase was 2.4 per cent, and Waitakere and Manukau were both up just over 1 per cent.


Brendon Bodger of QV in Christchurch said demand in city suburbs not affected by the earthquakes was increasing.

Selwyn, Waimakariri and areas to the northwest and southwest were in highest demand.

Properties in the white zone - the area requiring further geotechnical investigation - went for under their capital value showing people were mitigating their risk by not overpaying, he said.

Christchurch's average price last month was $378,738, QV said.

The Reinz report said Christchurch listings were in short supply and well-priced places sold quickly.

Glenda Whitehead of QV in Auckland said nationally, prices were just 0.1 per cent above the same time last year and 5 per cent below the market peak of 2007.

ANZ economist Mark Smith was surprised by the Reinz figures.

"The increase in sales volumes was stronger than we had expected. Sales are continuing to trend up with volumes up 5.4 per cent seasonally adjusted in the three months to August.

"With sales volumes around 24 per cent below historical averages as a portion of the housing stock, low mortgage rates on offer, and an improving labour market environment, there is considerable scope for sales to move higher."

The reason they had over the past few months was probably due to a combination of factors," he said.

In some areas, particularly Auckland and Canterbury, the number of properties for sale had been falling. Many potential sellers were reluctant to reduce asking prices to meet the market."

ASB economist Christina Leung said the Reinz figures showed a gradual pickup.

"Encouragingly, there continues to be a recovery in housing turnover in Canterbury in August, following the sharp drop in the wake of the earthquakes in June."