The national median house price rose to $495,000 in the year to February, an increase of 14.1 per cent ($5000).
Figures from industry body the Real Estate Institute shows the number of sales last month was 6253, that's up 45 per cent on January, although on a seasonally adjusted basis sales for February fell 8.9 per cent compared to February last year.
In Auckland, median prices rose a seasonally adjusted 11 per cent year-on-year, although the price dropped $5000 (1 per cent) during February.
Auction sales dropped from 34.8 per cent of sales in February 2016 to 29.3 per cent last February. Anecdotally, sellers are starting to state an asking price and tenders are adding to the marketing mix as the days of frantic auctions become a distant memory. Days to sell rose from 41 to 43, another sign that the market isn't as hot as it was.
Bindi Norwell, the institute's CEO says banks are reducing lending, becoming more selective about who they lend to, what properties they will lend on, and the terms.
In the 12 months to February the number of homes that sold for more than $1 million rose by 5 per cent to 708, making up 11 per cent of all properties sold.
Stephen Toplis, head of research at the BNZ, says outside of the Consumer Price Index, house prices remain the bank's primary inflation concern.
He says that while LVR changes have had a "significant impact" on the investor market, particularly in Auckland, he expects any moderation in house price inflation to be limited.
Barfoot & Thompson director Kiri Barfoot says uncertainty about prices dominated the Auckland residential housing market in February, with sales numbers at the firm falling to their lowest monthly total in six years, while available choice for buyers was at its highest for five years.
She says the market has divided around the $750,000 mark. Above this point sales numbers and prices remain consistent.
Below it uncertainty has developed as to whether asking prices represent value for money, and sales numbers have fallen.
Virtual open homes
Watson Real Estate in Palmerston North is offering 3-D virtual tours of its homes for sale.
The technology allows users to virtually 'walk' through an open home, pause in any room, look out of the windows and take a wander through the garden - all from the comfort of their couch.
The realtor's Greg Watson says the technology is changing how properties are marketed, saving buyers the hassle of leaving their home.
Three-dimensional viewing requires a smart phone that's placed in a specially made cardboard viewer the agency provides free to potential home buyers.