House sales in Wanganui are down on a year ago, but burgeoning interest from British and Chinese buyers is expected to give the market a boost, a local real estate agent says.

Latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show the median Wanganui house price in July dropped $42,500 year-on-year to $147,500, while July house sales slipped from 55 to 47.

LJ Hooker Wanganui agent Sue Ellis said buyers were being careful ahead of the election.

"People are cautious about what's going to happen with interest rates."


The median price drop could be explained by increased sales in the lower price bracket, including former Housing New Zealand properties.

However, interest from buyers in Britain and China was on the rise as foreigners looked to invest in Wanganui, or move here for family and education reasons.

"Having Wanganui Collegiate on our doorstep, and good reputations in our schools, we do attract overseas inquiry," said Mrs Ellis, who has just been named top salesperson for LJ Hooker nationally for July.

Ultra-fast broadband was also a drawcard, she said. "We're starting to get work-from-home people, perhaps from the insurance industry or the IT industry, whereby they can work from home, and as a city we're offering them ultra-fast broadband."

The number of houses sold nationally in July fell 13 per cent compared with the same time last year to 5893 but was up 2.3 per cent from June.

July's national median price rose 8.1 per cent - or $31,000 - from the previous July, to $416,000.