The national median house price fell last month but the Real Estate Institute attributes this to mid-winter blues and fewer expensive house sales.

The median fell from $284,500 in June to $280,000 last month, although a patchy picture emerged throughout the regions.

Six regions showed price drops and six showed rises.

A seasonal slowdown was expected in mid-winter, said institute president Howard Morley. That, combined with fewer property sales in the $400,000 to $999,000 category, gave a patchy picture.

Fewer sales were recorded in the $1 million-plus bracket: 127 such properties were sold last month compared with 156 in June.

Yet overall turnover rose from 8025 sales in June to 8213 last month. Mr Morley said vendors were more likely to take the prices they were offered at this time of year, whereas spring and summer tended to be a sellers' market.

Prices throughout Auckland rose from $340,000 in June to $363,500 last month, although its metropolitan area - covered by the Auckland City Council boundaries - dropped from $371,750 to $368,000.

Northland prices rose sharply, from $183,500 to $235,000. Hamilton prices dropped from $267,250 to $260,000.

Tauranga prices rose from $315,000 to $333,000 and Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne were up from $201,750 to $247,500.

Taranaki prices increased from $176,500 to $216,000.

Wellington prices dropped from $360,000 in June to $348,000 last month, Christchurch from $270,000 to $268,000 and Dunedin from $217,500 to $215,000.