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There has been a notable increase in activity in the New Zealand residential real estate market with buyers and sellers putting the general election behind them. Sales in September increased by 7.8% compared with the previous month but are still 12% down on a year ago, according to the latest index from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ). The national median price was $420,000 for the month of September, an increase of $20,000 or 5% compared to September 2013, and steady from August 2014. The index also shows that days to sell improved by three days to 35 days compared to August, and eased four days compared to September 2013 ‘The real estate market appears to have moved on from the election, with a noticeable increase in activity over the last 10 days of the month,’ said REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan. But she pointed out that despite stronger activity in the latter part of the month, sales volumes were again well down on the same time last year, meaning that sales volumes compared to last year have now fallen for 11 months in a row. Also, the pace of price increases has eased significantly, with the annual rate of price increase now only 5% compared to more than 10% in April. ‘A key theme reported by agents across the entire country is a lack of new listings. Unusually, listing levels are low even in Auckland where prices are at historically high levels, with the increased prices not tempting vendors into the market,’ said O’Sullivan. ‘There has been some pick up in listings in line with the start of spring, albeit not at the usual levels for this time of year. This may in part be a lag effect from the election. As with sales activity, listing interest is reported as having picked up in the last week of the September. We will be closely watching listing levels in October as a continued lack of choice is frustrating would be buyers,’ she added. Sales Volumes A breakdown of the figures shows that 10 regions recorded an increase in sales volume compared to August with Otago recording the largest percentage increase of 25.4%, followed by Northland with 19.1% and Hawkes Bay with 14.6%. Compared to September 2013 all 12 regions recorded a decrease in sales volume with Taranaki recording the largest fall of 31.5%, followed by Auckland and Nelson/Marlborough with a fall of 17.1%. While the total number of sales was down 12% compared to September 2013, the number of sales below $400,000 fell by 18.2%. This follows a fall in sales below $400,000 of 24.8% between August 2013 and August 2014. Nine regions recorded an increase in the median price and 68% of the increase in the national median price compared to September last year occurred in Auckland, with Canterbury/Westland contributing 20% of the increase and Waikato/Bay of Plenty contributing 5%. Together these three regions accounted for 92% of the increase in the… Continue reading →
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