Sales of million-dollar-plus homes dropped in 2017, according to new Real Estate Institute data.

Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, said Auckland was pulling down national sales because excluding that city, sales of $1m-plus places nationally increased year-on-year by nearly 5 per cent.

"Looking at the New Zealand excluding the Auckland picture, the number of million-dollar plus properties increased year-on-year by 4.7 per cent," Norwell said comparing 2016 with 2017.

"Volumes of million-dollar-plus sales were down year-on-year by 13.8 per cent across the country. This figure has been pulled down by the impact of what's happened in Auckland. If you remove Auckland from the picture, then the number of million-dollar plus properties actually increased," she said.


Sales of $1m-plus places nationally decreased by 13.8 per cent last year compared to 2016, from 11,639 to 10,027 sales. That was up on 2015 when 9574 $1m-plus properties were sold nationally, REINZ said.

In the Auckland market, the number of million-dollar properties sold in 2017 fell by 17.8 per cent, from 9,605 sales to 7,897 sales.

Barfoot & Thompson's Auckland and Northland last month recorded 197 $1m-plus sales. Throughout last year, monthly $1m-plus sales by that agency ranged from 196 last January up to 317 in the busy spring November period. Barfoot sold 27 properties for more than $2m last month. The agency recorded between 25 and 67 sales in that category a month last year.

"Sales in the $2m and $1m price categories were consistent with sales numbers achieved in these categories in 2017 in January," Barfoot said earlier this month.

Norwell said Southland had the biggest $1m-plus sales jump, up 200 per cent between 2016 and 2017. That was due to only one $1m-plus sale in 2016, rising to three such sales last year. However, because the sample size was so small the numbers are inflated, Norwell said.

"Taranaki outshone all the regions with a 100 per cent increase in million-dollar plus properties from 18 to 36 properties)when compared to 2016," Norwell said.

Other regions with strong increases in $1m-plus sales year-on-year were:
• Hawke's Bay up 58.8 per cent from 34 to 54 $1m-plus sales;

• Tasman up 52.4 per cent from 21 to 32 such sales;

• Gisborne up 33.3 per cent from three to four sales;

• Waikato up 19.7 per cent from 223 to 267 $1m-plus sales.

Otago had a record 24 sales in the $3m-plus category last year, up on 17 sales in that bracket in 2016, Norwell said.