National house sale volumes in December hit a three-year high but in Auckland were the highest level in four years, according to Real Estate Institute data out this morning.

Bindi Norwell, chief executive, said New Zealand rounded off the decade with high volumes as well as price rises in 15 out of 16 regions.

Predictions of Auckland's rebound were also being born out.

"Sales in Auckland were the highest for the month of December in four years, with particularly strong uplifts in sales volumes in Papakura District up 65 per cent, the North Shore City up 63 per cent and Waitakere City up 58 per cent," Norwell said.

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Nationally, house sale volumes rose 12.3 per cent from 5596 sales in December 2018 to 6285 last month. Auckland sales rose from 1412 to 1860 in the same period.

Auckland median house prices were up 3.5 per cent annually from $860,000 a year ago to $890,000 last month. That was the highest price for the region in 33 months, Norwell said.

The results are in line with the REINZ House Price Index where Auckland property values rose 4 per cent annually to a new record high, Norwell said.

Record median price highs were set in Southland up 32 per cent annually, Manawatu/Whanganui up 28 per cent, Taranaki up 14 per cent, Northland up 12.3 per cent annually and Tasman up 12 per cent.

The West Coast was the sole outlier, prices down 13 per cent annually.

Bindi Norwell, Real Estate Institute chief executive. Photo / supplied
Bindi Norwell, Real Estate Institute chief executive. Photo / supplied

"Wellington was also a standout region in December, with four areas seeing new record median prices - Kapiti Coast, Masterton, Porirua City and South Wairarapa," Norwell said.

In Auckland, Manukau City sales set a new record median high of $900,000 in December, she said. Rodney was not far behind with a median of $890,000, North Shore City also saw a 7 per cent annual uplift in median price to $1,050,000 and that was the first time the median has been over the $1m mark in four months, Norwell said.

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In December the median number of days to sell a property nationally fell by four days from 35 to 31 compared to a year ago.

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Auctions were used in 14 per cent of all sales nationally last month: 883 properties sold under the hammer, up from the same time last year, when 10.5 per cent of properties or 589 places were sold via auction.

Gisborne again had the highest percentage of sales by auction nationally: 47.7 per cent or 21 properties in the region sold under the hammer, REINZ said.

Auckland had the second-highest number of properties selling by auction as a percentage of total sales: 27.7 per cent or 515 properties.

Westpac economists have predicted that national house prices will increase by up to 7 per cent this year. Cancellation of capital gains tax combined with tumbling mortgage rates would push prices higher, its economists say.

REINZ
REINZ

The bank predicts the turnaround of the market will be most pronounced in Christchurch and Auckland, where markets have been weakest.

Last week, the Herald reported Quotable Value finding Auckland house values making their biggest quarterly jump in two years.

Average values hit $1.047m. Not since September 2017 had the house price index jumped so much in a quarter as it rode a boost in expensive house sales in the inner city and North Shore.

Nationally, the house price index also made its biggest leap in three years with prices jumping 2.7 per cent over the last three months, QV said last week.