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House prices rise, but sales volume down

By NZPA

Tuesday 17th August 2004

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House prices rose in July, but sales volumes fell, according to figures released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

The national median selling price increased from $243,000 in June to $249,000 in July, just above the May median of $248,000.

But REINZ said the trends were uneven, with five of the 11 regions surveyed showing price increases, five showing declines and one region unchanged.

Year-on-year national median prices are up 17.86% with Taranaki and Otago sharing the lead among individual regions, both up 35% on the previous year.

Days to sell fell to 30 in July from 31 in June, while total sales volume fell from 8367 in June to 7802 in July.

REINZ national president Graeme Woodley said it was significant that most of the reduced turnover in properties occurred in the under $400,000 category - where July sales were down to 6337 from 6860 in June.

Sales volume in houses in the $400,001 to $600,000 category fell from 993 to 946 while sales in the over $600,000 category increased slightly from 514 to 519.

"The Reserve Bank's determination to dampen demand by increasing the Official Cash Rate (OCR) in recent months has done relatively little to halt the residential property market overall but has impacted most on those who can probably least afford for their mortgage rates to rise," Woodley said.

The Reserve Bank hiked the OCR by 25 basis points on July 29, bringing it to 6.00% - the highest level in three years. The central bank is widely expected to raise rates again on September 9.

Looking at month-on-month median prices regionally, Northland fell to $183,500 in July, from $185,000 in June; Auckland rose to $340,000 from $323,710; Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne district increased to $200,000 from $196,000 in June; Hawkes Bay's median price fell to $190,000 from $219,000 ; the Manawatu/Wanganui district rose to $140,000 from $125,000 the month-earlier; Taranaki, rose to $176,000 from $150,000; Wellington was up slightly to $265,000 from $262,500; Nelson/Marlborough consolidated a little to $262,000 from $264,000; Canterbury/Westland was unchanged at $216,000 while Otago eased to $180,000 from $187,000; Southland was down to $118,000 from $132,500 to $118,000 on lower sales volume.

In the Auckland region, metropolitan Auckland rose to $343,500 from $325,00, while median prices in the North Shore also increased, to $397,00 from $385,000.

In Wellington, the Hutt Valley median price fell to $240,500 from $245,000, but central Wellington prices jumped to $332,000 from $293,000.

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