The number of residential property sales dropped last month, although the median price edged up.

Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand also show its housing price index rose last month, gaining 0.6 per cent, while for the three months to June housing prices were up 0.1 per cent.

The index is an average of sale prices for common groups. Compared with a year earlier, it was 4.2 per cent higher in June, while being 4.5 per cent below the November 2007 peak.

The national median dwelling price last month was $352,500, compared with $350,000 in May and $340,000 in June last year.

REINZ recorded 4575 sales in June, down from 5206 in May and from 6040 in June last year. Sales numbers were up on the 4305 in June 2008, but well down on the June figures for the previous seven years.

REINZ president Peter McDonald said predicted post-Budget "blues" had not come to fruition and a forecast fall in prices had not been seen.

"What we have is a genuine rather than a speculative market, with people seeking and buying homes to meet their own needs," he said.

But Mr McDonald also noted the REINZ statistics should not be taken as an indicator that individual house values were still rising.

They were purely the median of all sales during the month and could be affected by the number of properties sold at either end of the price bracket.

"The average gap between listing and selling prices last month was relatively small at only 4 to 5 per cent, which indicates successful vendors are being realistic in assessing the market value of their home," he said.

The fall in sales last month reflected the winter slowdown of the real estate market.

The national median number of days to sell increased from 43 in May to 45 in June, and was over 60 days in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu/Wanganui and Taranaki, and 86 days in the central Otago lakes area, suggesting significant regional differences in the state of the property market, Mr McDonald said.

- NZPA