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NZ house sales rise to 5,316 in December

Wednesday 18th January 2012

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New Zealand home sales climbed 20 percent in the best December result since 2007, though sales are still at relatively subdued levels.

The number of houses sold in December rose to 5,316 from 4,397 a year earlier, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. The number of houses sold was down 12 percent from November.

The median sale price achieved fell 3.4 percent to $355,000 from a month earlier, and was up 0.9 percent in December 2010.

“While the number of transactions is rising, prices have eased back from last month’s record highs,” chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said in a statement. “December has been a strong month for real estate sales in New Zealand.”

The REINZ stratified house price index, which strips out monthly variations in proportion to high or lower-value properties sold, rose 2.6 percent in December, and was up 4.4 percent on an annual basis.

The figures come after Quotable Value data showed New Zealand property values continued to improve in December and are almost back to where they were at the market’s peak in late 2007.

The property market spent much of last year in decline as households used record low interest rates to focus on repaying debt rather than take out a new mortgage, keeping a dampener on the number of properties sold and discouraging sellers.

The national median days to sell was unchanged at 35 days in December from a month earlier, and four days faster than in 2010.

In Auckland, the median house price rose 6.5 percent to $484,375 from a year earlier, with the number sold up 28 percent to 1,826 in December. Wellington house prices fell 3.3 percent to $387,000 from December 2010, while the number of houses sold fell 1.5 percent to 577.

Christchurch sale prices rose 4.7 percent to $346,000 and the number of houses sold increased 14 percent to 487. Dunedin house prices gained 4.3 percent to an average $255,000, while the number sold gained 5.2 percent to 184 in December.


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