Auckland median sale prices fell marginally in the past month but the national median prices rose 3.4 per cent during the same period, the Real Estate Institute says.

Although Auckland's median sale price dropped from June's $921,000 to $920,000 in July, nationally prices rose from $638,000 to $660,000.

Annually, national median prices rose 15 per cent from $575,000 last July to $660,000 last month.

Sales volumes rose 24 per cent from 6303 to 7854, which REINZ said was the highest in a July month for five years.

For New Zealand, excluding Auckland, the number of properties sold increased by 21.5 per cent from 4328 to 5258 from last July to last month.

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Auckland sales increased annually 30.3 per cent from 1992 to 2596, REINZ said.

All regions except Gisborne and Marlborough had year-on-year double-digit percentage sales volumes increases.

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When Auckland's three-day alert level 3 was announced this week, REINZ said auctions could only now be online. Open homes are barred and instead, private by-appointment viewings must only be held. People could still move house but agents should only carry out appraisals and listings remotely where possible.

Asked for Auckland's usual numbers in early this month over a three-day period, REINZ said $172m of property was generally sold via about 177 transactions. An average $5m worth of sections was sold during this period in about 10 deals.

All that gives an average $177m of property sold in 187 transactions.

Exactly how Auckland property deals will be affected during these three days won't be known until REINZ releases its August sales spreadsheets around mid-September.

Kiwibank reacted fast this morning: "The housing market looks to be back on track. But is it about to be derailed again? The return of community transmission of Covid-19 adds uncertainty to the housing market outlook. Despite the developments of recent days, we were already forecasting house price falls by the end of the year. Population growth is evaporating from closed borders and the labour market will deteriorate."

Michael Gordon, Westpac senior economist, said: "We expect some renewed softness in prices by the end of this year. However, it is now looking unlikely that the market will be as weak as our original 7 per cent decline forecast. We will be shifting our forecasts to a 2.5 per cent decline between now and the end of the year."

Today, REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said: "Even though anecdotally we've had a great start to August, the real question now is how long this can be sustained for, particularly now Auckland has gone back into alert level 3."

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She attributed recent activity to the weeks of lockdown from late March.

"Part of the sales volumes can be attributed to post-Covid pent-up demand but underpinning this activity during July was strong levels of interest and engagement from all buyer levels including first home buyers, investors and families looking to upgrade," she said.

The REINZ House Price Index for New Zealand, which measures the changing value of property in the market, increased 9.4 per cent year-on-year. The index excluding Auckland increased 9.5 per cent from July last year.

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The median number of days to sell a property nationally decreased seven days from 41 to 34, the lowest for the month of July in four years.

Auckland's median number of days to sell a property decreased by nine days from 44 to 35 days.

Auctions were used in 13.8 per cent of national sales. They are most used in Gisborne, followed by Auckland where 26 per cent of sales or 697 were sold via that method last month.

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On August 4, Barfoot & Thompson announced Auckland's median price fell from $910,000 in June to $890,000 in July, new listings fell from 1582 to 1518, sales volumes for unconditional commission-paid deals rose from 820 in June to 1095, average prices rose from $953,417 to $979,189 last month but were still below March's $993,528, recorded mostly before the alert level 4 lockdown.