12 Oct 2017

Lowest Sept house sales in six years - REINZ

11:46 am on 12 October 2017

House prices remain little changed and the numbers being sold are at a six-year low.

House sold sign, house auction sign, key.

Photo: RNZ / 123rf

The Real Estate Institute's house price index rose 0.7 percent in September on the previous month, and was 2.1 percent higher than a year ago.

There were few signs that the traditional spring seasonal rebound would occur this year, REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

"As the weather warms up we expect the market to pick up again."

She said market conditions were challenging, with loan-to-value ratios and tighter bank lending criteria weighing on the market.

Prices in Auckland were marginally lower than a year ago, but some regions including Wellington, Hawke's Bay and Nelson were showing double-digit growth.

Double-digit regional growth:

  • Tasman up 19.3% to $572,500
  • Hawke's Bay up 18.3% to $392,000
  • Gisborne up 14.9% to $270,000
  • Northland up 14.4% to $446,000
  • Wellington up 10.6% to $531,000
  • Southland up 10% to $220,000

The national median price was $525,000, down slightly on August but 1.2 percent up on a year ago.

The number of houses being sold was down 26 percent on a year ago and was the lowest number of properties sold in the month of September for six years.

The market continues to be starved of stock, with the number of houses available to be sold down 2.6 percent on last year.

"The soggy start to spring combined with the 'election effect' has had a significant impact on the number of sales across the country", Ms Norwell said.

"This is the lowest number of sales in eight months, and the lowest number of sales in the month of September for six years".

An economist said the post-election uncertainty was clearly a factor in the market weakness, but even when that was resolved the outlook was still downbeat.

"Beyond any election noise, we expect cooler conditions to persist, and so we remain focused on possible negative spill-overs," said ANZ senior economist, Phil Borkin.

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