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National house prices resilient

Friday 18th July 2003

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The New Zealand residential housing market median price showed resilience in the face of weaker sales during June, according to the Real Estate Institute's National President, Mr. Graeme Woodley.

The national median for June stayed the same as May at $210,000 with larger metropolitan areas easing or staying flat but with several regions continuing to show residential house price growth, Mr. Woodley said.

"The seasonal softening was to be expected, and is reflected in the national transaction figure falling from 11,158 sales in May to 9,790 sales in June.

"However we still have a much more buoyant market than in previous years, with sales in the latest period being considerably up on the June 2002 figure of 7,486, and the June 2002 figure of 6,147."

Low interest rates and the prospect of further falls based on the Official Cash Rate Announcement next week would continue to underpin the residential market, Mr. Woodley said.

Mr. Woodley said it was notable that the Auckland market, for some time predicted to soften, had resolutely defied gravity with the median 'hanging on' at $289,000 for June the same figure as for May.

"Auckland is trading strongly notwithstanding the seasonal softening which can be expected in the dead of winter, and it is instructive that the median continues to hold up in the face of huge apartment developments and sales."

"Auckland, because of its sheer volume size had held the national median where it is, despite several provincial regions continuing to enjoy a growth spurt."

Northland, Taranaki, Nelson Marlborough, Canterbury Westland, Otago and Southland all showed increases in their median prices, while Waikato Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, eased a little, as did Hawkes Bay, Manawatu/Wanganui and Wellington.

"Wellington is interesting in that, like Hawkes Bay, it exhibited quite a marked drop, but I suspect this is a seasonal issue rather than a sign of a falling market confidence."

Wellington's median fell from $235,000 in May to $220,500 in June while Hawkes Bay fell from $163,050 to $150,000 month on month.

The Northland median increased slightly from $167,000 in May to $168,000 in June, well up on the June 2002 figure of $154,000.

Auckland was level at $289,000 for May and June, still well up on the June 2002 median of $261,800.

Waikato Gisborne and Bay of Plenty slipped slightly from $178,000 in May to $176,000 in June, compared with $164,500 a year ago.

Hawkes Bay showed a puzzling drop from $163,050 in May to $150,000 in June, up on the June 2002 figure of $132,000, but according to Mr. Woodley "one shouldn't read too much into this and it would pay to look at the figure for the next couple of months before reaching any conclusions".

Manawatu/Wanganui was down slightly from $109,000 in May to $107,750 in June, but up on the figure of $105,000 a year ago. Taranaki looked strong in June up from $120,000 to $125,000, compared with the H June 2002 figure of $108,000.

Nelson Marlborough maintained its recent strength rising from $217,000 in May to $219,000 in June, a big step from the June 2002 median of $154,000.

Canterbury Westland was up from $157,000 to $159,500, well up on the figure of $140,000 a year ago.

Otago kept on with a median of $124,000 up on the May figure of $120,500 and the figure of a year ago of $110,000. Southland was up from $100,000 in May to $108,000, a big jump on the June 2002 figure of $78,500.

Sales figures were predictable with Auckland down month on month from 4,005 to 3,579, Wellington down from 1,178 to 938 and Canterbury Westland down from 1,567 to 1,285.

Auckland region medians showed interesting trends with North Shore continuing strong growth up from $331,000 in May to $339,000, Waitakere was up from $232,750 to $239,900, and Manukau was up from $276,000 to $290,000. But Auckland City was down from $371,500 to $355,000.

Mr. Woodley said the continual apartment development rollout in the Auckland CBD was probably responsible for the apparent fall in Auckland city median prices.

In Wellington, the Hutt Valley recorded a decrease month on month from $220,000 to $196,000, Northern was up from $270,000 to $288, 750, Western also grew from $342,000 to $386,350, Southern was up from $316,000 to $331,000, Eastern was also up from $317,000 to $340,500 but Central Wellington was down from $310,250 to $283,500, again apartment sales suspected of being responsible for the fall.

In Christchurch City central properties were up a little from $213,375 to $214,000, the North West Inner (Merivale, Fendalton and Ilam) median was strong at $315,000, up from $276,000 in May and the Christchurch City total was up from $172,500 to $181,750.

In Otago the Dunedin City median eased slightly from $125,000 in May to $124,000 in June

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