Realtors in Hawke's Bay saw a "massive" rise in the number of houses sold last month but the average price remains below the region's all-time high for the second month in a row.

Latest statistics from the Real Estate Institute show the median price last month stayed at $430,000 - unchanged from April and down on the all-time high of $445,000 set in March.

There was also a hike in the number of sales, with 30 more sales recorded compared to May last year and 50 more houses sold than in April 2018.

Property Brokers regional manager Paul Whitaker said he had seen a "massive rise" in sales.


"We sold 120 properties last month, so we are still seeing really strong activity, the market is still really strong.

"We're still seeing more of the same, and on the face of it, there's nothing there to stop it, although we do think prices are tapering off."

While the recent price hikes could be "coming to the end of its run" sales were still strong, and it was still a good time to sell.

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research this month predicted a rise, next year, in the Official Cash Rate that could see banks higher interest rates but Whitaker said as long as any rise was done responsibly, there would be little effect on the housing market.

Last month's median price rose 13.2 per cent from the same month last year but, at $430,000, Tremains managing director Simon Tremain said the price was making it hard for first-time buyers.

"I think the volume of sales the real positive we can take out of this, which is a real indication that there are still a lot of buyers around and especially from out of town.

"The median price pulling back slightly is certainly no indication of prices pulling back - they are still increasing but there is a lack of property in that first-home-buyer range in the $400,000s."

With the region's growth being noted around New Zealand, "a lot" of people from throughout the country were still buying in Hawke's Bay "with an eye to the future".


Ray White Hastings managing director Elanor MacDonald said the latest figures showed there was still a supply and demand problem in the region.

"I would hazard a guess that was one of the best months for sales volumes we have."

Harcourts Hawke's Bay general manager James Cooper said there was still high demand from buyers and, even with the increase in the listings in April and May, competition for property meant demand had not been eased.

"We are still seeing a number of out-of-town buyers in the market. In particular, our team witnessed a spike in buyers from Auckland over the Queen's Birthday weekend as visitors used the extra day off to search for a home in the Bay."

Black and White Real Estate managing director Tina Chamberlain said sales volumes had been the highest since May 2016.

"However, the median sale price has decreased by 3% from the peak in March 2018. We are still experiencing lower inventory, particularly in the $500,000-$700,000 price range, due to local homeowners being hesitant to come to market in fear of not finding a property to buy, this is resulting in sale values plateauing.

"If more home sellers came to the market making use of the 'vendor acquiring property' condition we would see more stock available and more movement locally."