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Housing market stays steady, REINZ says

Wednesday 11th May 2011

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Figures for April show the housing market remaining steady, with signs of a lift of prices in the South Island and Auckland prices still solid with limited supply, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) says.

Figures published today show 4987 unconditional sales last month, down from 5848 in March and 5207 in April 2010.

The market had come off its traditional March peak, and on a seasonally adjusted basis the April figure was up 3 percent compared to March, REINZ said.

The national median house price eased by $5000 from March, to $360,000, but was up $4000 compared to a year earlier.

REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the Manawatu/Wanganui and Wellington areas were the only ones to have a seasonally adjusted fall in sales numbers.

"The results reflect some cautious optimism with no great outbreak of smiles but certainly fewer frowns," she said.

Auckland reached a new all time high median house price of $479,500, up 2% from both March and from a year earlier, while the region also led the country in the number of days to sell which eased from 35 to 34 days in April, reflecting a shortage of listings.

Nationally, the median days to sell in April was 43 days, up from 41 in March and 40 a year earlier. All regions other than Wellington, Southland and Nelson/Marlborough recorded a fall in days to sell.

In Christchurch, hit by a devastating earthquake in February, 315 properties were sold in April, up from 193 in March although well down on the 511 a year earlier.

Difficulties gaining insurance in Christchurch had eased and prices continued to firm in the city, REINZ said.

The REINZ housing price index was up 1.1% in April compared to March, with the stratified median house price at just under $365,600. The index recorded rises in Auckland, Wellington and the rest of the South Island, but falls in Christchurch and the rest of the North Island.

Compared to April 2010, the index fell 0.4%, and it is now 4% below the peak of November 2007.



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