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Latest REINZ data confirms plummeting sales

Wednesday 10th October 2007

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While the national median price edged to a new record of $351,500, house sales slipped to the lowest September sales figure since 2001.

Despite the expectation of a ‘kick’ from the traditionally more buoyant Spring selling period, sales were down from 6394 in August to 5894 in September.

REINZ president Murray Cleland says the slide in sales had probably helped support prices. He says escalating building costs and the fall in building consent numbers also helped underwrite the residential property market.

“People are constantly making comparisons between the cost of buying land and building a new home and existing properties and I think we have reached that cross-over point now where that comparison might start to favour existing properties.

“It’s the old story, land subdivision costs and timeframes imposed by local authorities plus building consent costs for new construction have risen at such a pace that the price of existing houses is now not looking at all excessive.

On a year-by-year percentage growth basis the market is also showing a degree of stubbornness.

“Most commentators have been predicting a slowdown in annual housing price growth, and while that is the long term trend, the fact is that it is still sitting at 12.35, a little lower than August on 12.9% but up on July which was 10.4%.”

Nationally, in the 12 real estate regions, seven regions experience increased median prices while five experienced falls.

Northland was up from $317,500 to $320,000 but Auckland region was down from $450,000 in August to $441,500 this month.

Within the region Auckland city actually increased its median from $474,000 to $480,000 but metropolitan Auckland was down from $450,000 to $445,000 largely as a result of the North Shore median price slipping from $550,000 in August to $520,000 this month.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty was another region to experience an easing of median prices down from $325,000 in August to $322,750, although Hamilton’s median was up from $355,500 in August to $365,000. But Mount Maunganui and Papamoa experienced a rare fall from $440,000 to $405,000 and Tauranga was down from $371,500 to $358,000.

Hawkes Bay was strong with a median up from $275,000 to $285,000 and Manawatu and Wanganui was also up strongly from $215,000 to $240,000.

Taranaki followed suit with a rise from $257,500 to $265,000.

Wellington eased slightly after strong prices in recent months, down from $381,050 to $380,000 and Nelson/Marlborough was down from $334,000 to $330,250.

Canterbury/Westland fared better with the median up from $310,000 to $315,000 and Central Otago Lakes was again buoyant up from $474,500 to $477,500.

Otago took a breather after recent strong months, down from $238,000 to $236,000, while Southland again proved that it is experiencing its own exclusive property boom with a leap in the median price from $176,000 to $195,000.

As a result Southland again leads the national statistics for annual percentage growth, with a figure of 39.28%, compared with 17.72% to August, with Wellington second on 15.5% and Manawatu/Wanganui and Northland level pegging in third on 14.28%.

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