13 May 2021

Housing market still breaking records but moves to slow growth may be kicking in

11:10 am on 13 May 2021

A scramble for houses has driven the number of residential properties sold to the highest level in any April month for the past five years.

Open home sign at a house for sale in East Auckland

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's house price index rose nearly 26.8 percent in April to 3775, over the year earlier.

The national median price for residential property rose a seasonally-adjusted 25.6 percent to $810,000, a gain of $130,000 on last year's $680,000.

REINZ acting chief executive Wendy Alexander said there were signs the reintroduction of loan to value bank lending restrictions (LVRs) were having some effect.

"As we predicted last month, the ongoing lack of supply continues to put upwards pressure on house prices. However, we have seen some regions start to show signs of prices easing and the rate of growth slowing down a little which will be welcome news to those looking to get on the property market," she said.

The total number of properties available for sale fell 19.6 percent on the year before, which was the lowest for an April month since records began.

"However, we were still surprised by the strength of some of the rises in places such as Gisborne, Manawatū/Whanganui, Marlborough and Otago, which have all seen annual price rises in excess of 45 percent."

Alexander said it was also surprising that the Auckland region reached another record median price for a third month in a row, with a seasonally-adjusted rise of 21.2 percent on the year earlier to more than $1.1 million.

Houses sold five days faster with a seasonally-adjusted 13.3 percent increase on the year earlier to 7218, but down 13.3 percent on March.

Nine out of 16 regions reached record median prices, along with 21 districts - well down on 32 districts last month.

The number of homes sold for less than $500,000 fell to 15.6 percent of the market, with those above $1m accounting for a third of all sales.

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