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NZ house sales and turnover hit records in March, REINZ says

Tuesday 12th April 2016

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New Zealand house sale prices broke records across the country in March as Auckland's strength and the halo effect on surrounding regions continued to improve.

The median national sale price increased 4.2 percent to $495,000 in March from a year earlier, while the number of properties sold was up 8.2 percent at 9,527, the highest number of sales in March since 2007, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand. 

"Right across the country regional markets have been strong with a large number of record medians and the strongest sales for nine years for most regions, with the strongest March sales for 11 years in Waikato/Bay of Plenty and 14 years in Central Otago Lakes," chief executive Colleen Milne said in a statement. "March demonstrates a noticeable surge in sales of higher priced properties, with the number of sales over $1 million increasing by over 90 percent compared to February. This is especially true in Auckland, where one in three properties that sell are valued at more than $1 million - a record 35 percent of the market.”

The median price in Auckland shot to $820,000, past $800,000 for the first time, and up 14 percent from a year earlier. Sales volumes fell 12 percent to 3,230 with the largest declines in Manukau City and Rodney. 

"Recent fears of the Auckland market cooling off have been overstated, as median prices across the city have rebounded during March," Milne said. 

Auckland's housing market has been propped up by record inbound migration while several years of under-investment left a shortage of supply to cope with that increase in demand. That imbalance spurred the Reserve Bank and government to impose curbs to sap investor demand while the Crown has been designating certain areas for a fast-tracked consenting process.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty and Central Otago Lakes were the strongest real estate markets in March, while Wellington, Nelson, and Canterbury/Westland also posted new record median prices. Excluding Auckland's impact, the national median price rose 10 percent to $385,000 from March 2015.

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