A late spring surge in the residential property market has lifted the number of house sales back above 5000 and the national median price up to $360,000, Real Estate Institute of NZ figures show.

However the increase in sales has come off a record low base and is less than the 6056 sales recorded during the same period last year.

It was too early to know whether the data represented a shift in the market, economists said.

In October just 3903 properties sold - the lowest October total since institute records began.