The median house price in New Zealand rose to a record $380,000 last month as sales jumped by almost a third compared to October 2011, according to the Real Estate Institute.

Sales rose 32.6 percent to 6,640 in October from a year earlier and were 17.5 percent higher than in September this year, the institute said in its monthly report. The median house price rose from $371,000 in September.

The REINZ Stratified House Price Index, which adjusts for the proportion of higher or lower-value homes sold, climbed 6.9 percent from October last year to a record high index level of 3,495.1. Auckland's median house price also set a new record, rising 2.9 percent to $530,000.

All regions recorded an increase in sales volumes from the same month last year, with the biggest gains coming for Central Otago Lakes jumping 54 percent, Northland up 52 percent and Hawkes Bay up 47.7 percent.


The surge in new listings struggled to keep pace with buyer demand, causing the time taken to sell to drop by one day from September to 32 days, said REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan.

Although sales volumes rose across the country in October, prices did not automatically follow, she said.

"The market is very much in two parts - the metropolitan regions of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch where prices are rising and the rest of the country where price trends are mixed."

In Auckland, most of the activity is in around the central city, northern suburbs and eastern beaches, O'Sullivan said.

"Buyer enthusiasm is less evident in South Auckland and the rural fringes north and south which is reflected in smaller increases in the median price and a longer time for sales to be achieved."

Nationally, the total value of residential house sales was $3.15 billion last month. That was a jump from $2.62 billion in September, and $2.15 billion in October last year.


There were 6640 unconditional residential sales across the country, a seasonally adjusted 5.7 per cent higher than September and 24.7 per cent higher than October last year.

Sales of houses in the $600,000 to $1 million band increased 73 per cent in the past year.

Sales in the over-$1 million band have increased by 96 per cent.

Across the country, 20.2 per cent of all sales last month were by auction. A total of 1,343 homes sold by auction was up from 689 sales in October last year.