By RNZ

The Real Estate Institute's house price index - which measures the changing value of property in the market - rose 7 per cent in the year to January to a record high of 2922.

The volume of sales in Auckland rose 9.7 per cent on last year, while the rest of the country ticked up slightly by 0.9 per cent.

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"Normally January is a quiet time of the year, and for a few regions that was definitely the case, however, overall the country had a strong start to the year with the most residential properties sold for the month of January in four years," REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

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"Much of the increase in sales volumes is being driven by increasing confidence in the housing market which has been underpinned by a relatively strong economy, good employment rates and the low-interest rate environment."

The national median house price rose 11.8 per cent to $615,000 from $550,000 the previous January.

"Looking around the country, 10 out of 16 regions saw annual increases in the number of properties sold, with particularly strong uplifts in sales volumes in most of the middle of the North Island and the top of the South Island," Norwell said.

Median prices in Southland were 28.7 per cent up - to $359,000 - on the previous January, up 24.5 per cent in Manawatū/Whanganui to $411,000, Hawke's Bay prices were up 22.2 per cent in the year to $683,000, and Otago prices were up 19.9 per cent to $570,000.

- RNZ