A shortage of new listings is causing buyers to make rapid decisions lifting house prices around the country.
"The traditional rush of spring listings has not eventuated this year and the market is tightening as buyers face a limited choice of offerings," said REINZ Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan.
"This has been reflected by increases in the median price across much of the country."
"Auckland continues to be the key region in terms of price increases and demand for housing, however, other regions are now starting to see pressure building with the median price in five regions within 10% of their record medians and the number of days to sell falling quite rapidly in some parts of the country."
Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 5,653 unconditional sales in September, an increase of 418 sales (+8.0%) compared with the same time last year and a fall of 6.3% compared to August. Over the past 10 years September sales have averaged 2.2% higher than August, indicating that sales this September were weaker than average.
The national median house price increased by $1,000 from $370,000 in August to $371,000 in September; an increase of 0.3%. Auckland’s median house price moved up 1.9 per cent compared to August to a new record median price of $515,000. Nelson/Marlborough also reached a new record median price of $353,000. The national median house price is up 6.0% compared to September last year and is $1,000 below the record median price set in June this year.
Eight regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to September last year, with Central Otago Lakes recording an increase of 25.9%, followed by Auckland with 17.4% and Waikato/Bay Of Plenty with 15.1%. Only two regions recorded increases in sales in September compared to August, with Otago recording a 12.8% increase and Central Otago Lakes a 7.4% increase. Taranaki recorded a 22.1% fall in sales in September compared to August, with Southland recording a 21.5% fall and Manawatu/Wanganui a 16.4% fall in sales.
For the month of September, Nelson/Marlborough recorded the highest lift in prices for the month with an increase of 7.0%, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui with 5.1%, and Wellington with 4.2%. Compared to September 2011, Southland recorded the highest lift in prices with an increase of 17.0%, followed by Central Otago Lakes with 14.4% and Auckland with 8.4%.
The REINZ Stratified House Price Index, which adjusts for some of the variations in mix that can impact on the median price, is 5.0% higher than September 2011 and is now at a new record high. The House Price Index for Other South Island also set a new record high in September.
Days to sell
The national median days to sell improved by two days in September compared to August, from 35 to 33 days, with the number of days to sell also improving by four days compared to September 2011. Since February this year the number of days to sell has fallen by 13 days, from 46 days in February to 33 days in September, with Taranaki and Southland regions seeing the number of days to sell over the same period fall by 22 days, Waikato/Bay Of Plenty seeing a fall of 21 days and Central Otago Lakes seeing a fall of 18 days. Auckland region saw a fall of eight days and Canterbury/Westland a fall of six days.
For the month of September, Canterbury/Westland and Southland recorded the shortest days to sell at 29 days, followed by Auckland with 30 and Otago with 32 days. Northland recorded the longest number of days to sell at 72 days, followed by Hawkes Bay with 46 days and Central Otago Lakes with 45 days. Over the past 10 years the median days to sell for the month of September has averaged 34 days across New Zealand.
Nationally there were 1,128 dwellings sold by auction in September representing 20.0% of all sales, up from 674 sales in September 2011 representing 12.9% of all sales. This is a new national record for the percentage of sales by auction and beats the previous high of 18.4% reached in August 2012. Auction sales in Auckland also reached a new record with more than 37% of all sales in the region in September sold by auction.
Transactions in Auckland again dominated the auction market, representing 74.8% of the national total of auction sales. 37.4% of all dwelling sales in Auckland were by this method in September; this was up strongly from the 24.0% of sales by auction in September 2011. Sales by auction in Waikato/Bay Of Plenty accounted for 10.2% of the national total, Canterbury/Westland accounted for 6.8% of the national total, and all other regions combined accounted for the remaining 8.2% of auction sales in September 2012.