House sales back in action as sale volumes leap

by Ksenia Stepanova14 Nov 2018

The number of residential properties sold across New Zealand has hit its highest point in five months, increasing by 15.5% year-on-year according to REINZ data.

The number of properties sold nationally from 5,880 in October 2017 to 6,791 in October 2018, a total increase of 911 houses. The increase was slightly larger for New Zealand excluding Auckland, rising by 15.6%.

New Zealand also set another record for median price, which reached $562,000 – a 6% increase year-on-year. Five regions achieved record prices in October including Canterbury, Otago and Hawke’s Bay, and the median price in Auckland increased to $865,000, the highest for the region in seven months.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says that while the market is looking buoyant, it should be noted that last year’s sales volumes were also impacted by the election.

“October saw the real estate market spring back into action with the volume of sales increasing nationally by 15.5% when compared to the same time last year,” Norwell stated.

“This is the highest number of sales for a month of October in 2 years and is the equivalent of an additional 29 houses sold each day across the whole month. September was very quiet in terms of the number of properties sold, and we predicted that with the increase in listings coming to the market that October’s sales would be much stronger than September’s. With strong sales this month, it’s our belief that in the current market that New Zealand is taking a different path to what we’re seeing across the Tasman at this point in time.”

Norwell noted that the government’s foreign buyer ban also came into force in October, though Statistics New Zealand’s September quarter figures showed the lowest level of foreign buyers since they began keeping records. Norwell says REINZ is ‘confident’ that October’s buoyant sales volume was down to a spring uptick, rather than a last-minute rush in foreign buyers.

With regards to Auckland, Norwell says supply constraints are the key factor driving up house prices nationwide.

“Until we seriously address the fundamental housing supply issues, record price increases is something that we’re going to continue to see around the country – particularly as Aucklanders continue to move out of the city for both lifestyle and affordability reasons,” she stated.

“October saw Auckland’s median price rise by 1.8% to $865,000 – the highest median price for 7 months. It’s too early to say if this is the start of the next price increases for Auckland, but traditionally we do tend to see increases in October and November as we move into the warmer weather.”

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