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Residential property sales slump further: REINZ

Monday 12th May 2008

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The residential real estate market suffered a further slump in sales in April, although some districts median prices recovered, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

The national median price was down from $349,000 in March to $345,000 in April 2008, compared with the April 2007 median of $349,000.

Sales collapsed to just 4,464 in April, down 45.5% on the sales figure a year ago of 8,194.

REINZ National President Murray Cleland said, "we thought that the March sales figure of 5,129 was low, due to a short month because of an early Easter, but April shows that the loss of confidence in the housing market is deeper than we had anticipated."

Cleland said that the Auckland market sales were down by 52.5% from 2,843 in April 2007 to just 1,350 sales in April 2008, compared with Wellington where sales were down 33.5% from 842 in April 2007 to 560 in the latest month.

"Auckland seems to be most affected by the loss of confidence, and it does tend to be something of a barometer of the market being the first to rise in good times and the first to fall when things turn sour."

However, median prices stabilised a little during the month with a number of regions recovering lost ground.

"About the only glimmer of hope was the fact that a number of regions saw their median prices recover, suggesting that the March figures were something of an aberration. However the trend overall is for declining house values," Cleland said.

Among the 12 real estate districts seven saw their medians increase and five experienced further falls.

Northland was up from the $325,000 median in March to $359,000 in April, well up on the April 2007 figure of $320,000.

Auckland as mentioned was also back up, from $437,500 in March to $450,000, close to the April 2007 figure of $452,000, but the very low turnover meant that the apparent price recovery was more likely to be a function of low sales, Cleland said.

Metropolitan Auckland was up from $440,400 in March to $445,000, but well down on the April 2007 metropolitan Auckland median of $459,000.

Waikato and Bay of Plenty on the other hand experienced a drop in the median from $320,000 in March to $315,000, but Hawke's Bay bounced back with a lift in its median from $267,000 last month to $275,000 in April.

Manawatu and Wanganui were up similarly from $225,000 in March to $239,000 in April as was Taranaki up from $253,500 to $269,000.

Wellington saw another topsy-turvy month with the median falling from $410,000 in March to $375,000 in April.

Nelson and Marlborough saw a good recovery from $315,000 in March to $336,500 but Canterbury and Westland districts were down from $311,000 to $300,000, as was Central Otago Lakes down from $480,000 to $454,000.

Otago slipped back from $241,000 in March to $235,000 in April, while Southland continued to show strength with its district median up from $190,500 to $215,000, enabling it to continue its lead in year to date percent age growth of 30.69%.

Nationally the median is now 1.14% lower than April 2007, with an increasing number of districts slipping into negative territory this month, including Auckland down 0.44%, Hawkes Bay down 1.78%, Taranaki down 2.18% and Canterbury and Westland down 3.22%.

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