10 May 2012

Housing sales rise in April

6:36 pm on 10 May 2012

The property market is showing further signs of picking up, albeit from low levels.

The Real Estate Institute says sales totalled 5676 in April, an increase of 14% on the same period a year ago.

The average sale price edged down 1% to $370,000 from March's record high, while the average time to sell rose by a couple of days, to 37, which is below the median.

Meanwhile, figures from Quotable Value to April show nationwide values rose 0.4% in the past three months, and just over 3% on an annual basis, though it remains below the peak of late 2007.

Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan says activity remains sluggish outside of Auckland and Christchurch.

She says sales volumes in Auckland are the highest for five years just over 2100, however that's still only three quarters of the sales made in April 2007.

Ms O'Sullivan says the national inventory of listings is well below what it was at this time last year and new listings are not keeping up with the rising number of sales.

She says people don't seem to be speculating on property and are selling their houses for lifestyle reasons, for example if they need a larger or smaller house.

The institute's house price index fell 1.8% in May compared with the previous month, and 0.7% lower than the same month a year earlier.