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Median house prices rise in September

By NZPA

Monday 18th October 2004

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The national median selling price for New Zealand homes bounced back in the month of September - rising to $250,000 - after falling in August, figures released today show.

The figures, issued by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), showed a $3000 rise in median prices, after they fell by $2000 in August.

REINZ national president Howard Morley said the rise defied widespread predictions of a fall in house prices, particularly in the Auckland market.

The $250,000 price was a new record.

However the increase came in the face of a further decline of 4.1% in the number of sales, from 8191 sales in August to 7854 in September. The figure was well down on the 10,687 houses sold in September 2003.

Morley most of the decline occurred in the under $400,000 section of the market.

Rising interest rates were dampening activity in the market, but values were remaining relatively steady with seven regions experiencing increases, three decreases and one region an unchanged median.

The median price had remained within a tight band of $240,500 to $250,000 through the past six months, he said.

"Sales volumes are well down now from the peak, with current sales at under 8000 a month, compared with 10,687 in September 2003, and more in line with the September 2002 market where 7943 sales took place," Morley said in a statement.

He said despite "exaggerated reports of decreases" in Auckland prices, the Auckland market was mostly doing well, with the median price increasing during September from $336,500 to $337,000, just under the $340,000 record set in July.

Within the Auckland region, Auckland city median prices were up from $365,000 in August to $385,000 in September.

However echoing the national trend Auckland sales dropped from from 2888 in August to 2682 in September, a fall of 7.1%.

Auckland prices were just 5.6% up on a year ago, well short of the 16.3% national average increase for the year. Southland prices showed the biggest percentage increase over the year, at 38.9%.

Of those regions that experienced a fall in median price, Nelson/Marlborough topped the list tumbling from $270,000 in August to $250,000 in September - the latest in a series of significant declines that follow record growth in the past two years.

Hawke's Bay was down from $211,500 to $196,100 and Taranaki from $161,050 to $158,500.

The Northland median was unchanged at $195,000.

Of those experiencing a rise, Wellington increased from $265,000 to $270,000, Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne from $210,000 to $212,500, Manawatu/Wanganui from $140,000 to $146,000, Canterbury/Westland from $218,750 to $223,250, Otago from $183,000 to $186,550 and Southland from $126,750 to $132,000.

The median number of days to sell remained steady at 31.

Houses sold quickest in Canterbury/Westland, where on average it took just 22 days to sell a house.

At the other end of the spectrum a house in Nelson/Marlborough took 52 days to sell.

The number of days it took to sell an Auckland home fell from 33 in August to 31 in September.

In the major metropolitan areas the Wellington city median price was down from $318,510 to $311,000, Christchurch city dropped from $240,000 to $236,500 and Tauranga from $283,500 to $265,000.

Hamilton city's median rose from $223,000 to $235,000, and Dunedin went up from $186,500 to $191,000.

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