Thursday 16th September 2004
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Real Estate Institute (Reinz), which issued the stats, said another factor was slower activity in "upper end" properties.
National president Howard Morley said sales volumes improved in August as the market headed into its customary spring upturn.
The median selling price was below the $249,000 for July, but above the $243,000 recorded in June, Reinz said.
While the market appeared to have retreated, Morley said it had to be considered against July's strong median price increase, largely driven by a spike in Auckland prices.
"This month we have seen a bit of levelling off, but the trend is still pretty much intact," Morley said in a statement.
Recent mortgage rate increases at banks - driven by the Reserve Bank tightening its official cash rate (OCR) successively to 6.25% - might have had some effect, he said.
However, the trend towards fixed interest rates meant the house-buying public was unlikely to lose confidence in the market, even as further OCR rises became likely, Morley said.
"Of the 11 regions, seven reported increases (five last month) two recorded falls (five in July) and two were unchanged (one in July).
"The impact of the Auckland market on the national market was again apparent with Auckland being one of the two regions to record a decrease with its median".
The median Auckland house price fell from $340,000 in July to $336,500 in August.
However, national sales volumes rose from 7802 in July to 8191 in August. Auckland accounted for most of the increase with sales up from 2609 in July to 2888 in August.
Median sales prices for August in other regions were: Northland $195,000 (from $183,500); Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne $210,000 ($200,000); Hawkes' Bay $211,500 ($190,000); Manawatu, Wanganui $140,000 ($140,000); Taranaki $161,050 ($176,500); Wellington $265,000 ($265,000); Nelson, Marlborough $270,000 ($262,000); Canterbury, Westland $218,750 ($216,000); Otago $183,000 ($180,000); and Southland $126,750 ($118,000).
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