Summer took its toll on the house sale market, with national volumes down 9.5 per cent but Auckland harder hit and down 17.9 per cent in the last month.

Real Estate Institute data just out showed just 5954 properties sold last month throughout the country compared to February last year when 6576 properties were sold.

But in Auckland, the fall was more severe, down from 1654 residential properties sold last February to just 1358 last month.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said February this year bucked the trend.


"At a time when sales volumes are normally strong, when we look across the country, 13 out of 16 regions actually saw an annual fall in the number of properties sold. Traditionally children go back to school and people return from their holidays and housing activity picks up, however, February 2019 has been an exception to this rule," she said.

Auckland's median price fell 0.6 per cent between February 2018 and February 2019.

Norwell said that was due to a slight fall in the number of $1m+ properties sold.

Some areas recorded price growth including Auckland City where prices increased 3.9 per cent to $1m, the highest price for Auckland City for 20 months.

Papakura District had an annual increase of 3.8 per cent to $649,000 and Franklin medians rose 2.3 per cent to $670,000. But Rodney and North Shore City saw annual median house price falls of 0.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, Norwell said.

The trend for fewer national sales in February was due to "the raft of legislative changes impacting the housing market at the moment, the increasing difficulty in accessing finance, despite a record low OCR and very low mortgage rates from the banks, and vendors' pricing expectations", Norwell said.

"What we're hearing from salespeople around the country is that vendors and investors are taking a 'wait and see' approach to the housing market – much like you would normally see around election time. This is particularly true in relation to the recently announced Capital Gains Tax proposals from the Tax Working Group. Families want to know what aspects of the proposals the Government will accept ahead of next year's election and what impact that will have on them and their family," Norwell said.