15 Apr 2021

House prices soar as sales rise to 14-year high

10:54 am on 15 April 2021

Residential property has been selling at a rapid pace, driving prices up by nearly a quarter.

Generic houses in NZ - pic taken in Chch June 2020

The national median house price rose to $826,300 in March, compared with $665,000 last year, according to the The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) . Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) house price index rose 24 percent year on year to 3756 in March, with a national median house price of $826,300, compared with $665,000 last year.

Twelve of the 16 regions hit record median prices, as well as 32 districts.

Auckland's median house price increased by 18.5 percent to more than $1.1 million, with Northland leading the pack with a near 27 percent increase to $710,000.

The number of residential properties sold last month rose to a 14-year high of 9721, which was 31 percent up on the same time last year and driven by a scramble for Auckland properties, which rose 50 percent.

Institute acting chief executive Wendy Alexander said March's result was much higher than many commentators would have expected, given the first tranche of fresh loan to value bank lending restrictions (LVRs) were back in effect, with investors requiring a 30 percent deposit and owner-occupiers requiring a 20 percent deposit.

"Therefore, we would have expected sales volumes to slow a little as buyers took this into account, however, it might just be that we need a few more months for this to really start to take effect."

Alexander said the West Coast was a standout region with five consecutive months of sales growth of more than of 40 percent.

"The last two months alone have seen an 80 percent increase and this month it's been a 120 percent increase showing how strong interest levels are in the region right now.

"Given how affordable the region is, we would expect sales volumes to continue at a strong pace for a few more months yet."

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