New Zealand housing market saw a sales surge at end of 2014

Taylor Scott International News

Last year ended with a sales surge in the New Zealand residential real estate market with transactions up 24.2 in December compared with the same month in 2013. It was the strongest December sales since 2006 and the second strongest December on record, according to the data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ). The index also shows that the national median price at $450,000, is up $23,000 on December 2013 but down $5,750 on November 2014. However, the Auckland median price reached a new record of $678,000. Overall there has been an annual increase in the national median price of 5.4% over 2014 compared with 9.8% over the 2013 and year on year sales were down 7% on the number sold in 2013. ‘The data for December shows very strong sales growth compared to 12 months ago and a much higher level of sales that we would normally expect for the final month of the year,’ said REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan. ‘The effect has been seen right across the country, with a number of regions seeing further increases in sales in December after a strong November. The normal December slow down hasn’t really happened in 2014,’ she explained. However, she pointed out that apart from Auckland, median prices across the country have moderated somewhat. For the year ended December, Auckland’s median price rose by 13%, but the national median rose by only 5.4%. Even Canterbury, which has seen strong price growth during 2014 has seen its rate of price increase pull back to under 2% for the 12 months to December 2014. ‘The real estate market remains split between Auckland, with strong demand and price growth, and the rest of the country. While a number of regions are experiencing listing shortages the situation in Auckland is acute, with less than three months’ supply available and demand continuing to be robust,’ she said. ‘Vendors are simply not coming forward in large enough numbers to meet the demand, despite the strong price rises seen in Auckland over the past three years,’ she added. A breakdown of the data shows that four regions recorded an increase in sales volume compared to November with Hawkes Bay recording the largest percentage increase of 7.2%, followed by Nelson/Marlborough with 6.8% and Northland with 4.2%. All regions recorded an increase in sales volume compared to December 2013 with Manawatu/Wanganui recording the largest increase of 39.7%, followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty with an increase of 34.8% and Wellington with an increase of 32.5%. The national median house price declined $5,750 or 1.3% to $450,000 compared to November. Compared to December 2013 the national median house price increased by $23,000 or 5.4%, with six regions recording an increase. On a seasonally adjusted basis the national median house price rose 0.2% compared with November and 4.7% compared to December 2013. Taking total volumes and prices into account, Auckland accounted for 98% of the increase in the median price between December 2014 and… Continue reading →

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