15 Mar 2011

Canterbury house sales slump after quake

7:52 am on 15 March 2011

House sales in Canterbury dropped by almost a half in February compared with the month before, as the Christchurch earthquake took its inevitable toll.

The Real Estate Institute managed to collect data from 85% of agents in Canterbury and says sales slumped 44% in February.

The average sale price was almost 5 percent lower than in February last year.

Based on the institute's figures, economists estimate the house sales fell by seasonally-adjusted 28%.

After the 4 September earthquake, sales activity rebounded sharply the following month, however economists are predicting there will be more disruption this time.

Excluding Canterbury, nationwide house sales improved, returning to December levels, while the national median house price rose $10,000 to reach $350,000.