Tauranga Property Investors' Association

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House prices and sales volumes steady

New Zealand house prices and sales volumes were steady last month in another signal that the decline in prices has probably ended amid rising net migration and lower mortgage lending rates.

The median house price was unchanged at $340,000 in July from the previous month, according to Real Estate Institute data. The volume of sales dipped to 6,014 from 6,040 in June, while the length of time it took to sell a house fell to 37 days from 41 days over the period.

"July's data confirms the recent recovery in the housing market remains firm and that declines in house prices have come to an end," said Jane Turner, economist at ASB. "While population growth and low interest rates are supportive for the housing market, rising unemployment and ongoing economic uncertainty continues to dampen the degree of optimism."

The housing market has shown signs of stabilising for several months, with QV Valuations posting its third straight improvement in values earlier this week. Last month, central bank Governor Alan Bollard said rising net migration and lower interest rates were stoking demand for property and economists say the resurgent market has hindered Bollard's ability to cut rates further for fear of reigniting a housing bubble.

REINZ president Mike Elford said while the results weren't "brilliant," there were "positive signs" such as more listings.

The new REINZ Monthly Housing Price Index rose 1% to 3134.1 in July. The index uses stratification, in which an average of for sale prices is taken across common groups of housing at a suburb level, to provide a more accurate measure of prices for the body. The base value of 1000 is taken from prices in January 1992.

Northland median house prices rose to $315,000 from $310,000 in June, according to today's REINZ report, with the number of houses sold dropping to 149 from 167. The median house price in Auckland climbed to $440,000 in July from $435,000 the previous month, with 2,024 houses sold, down from 2,032 in June.

In Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne the median price rose to $320,000 from $318,750. Hawkes Bay recorded a decline in the median price to $271,500 from $280,000.

In Taranaki, prices gained to $280,100 from $271,000. Manawatu/Wanganui's median price rose to $224,250 from $221,750. Wellington's median price slid to $370,000 from $375,000 in June, with sales falling to 618 from 674 the previous month. In Nelson and Marlborough, the median price decreased to $328,000 from $334,000.

Canterbury/Westland sales rose to 905 from 889, while the median price increased to $297,000 from $295,000. In Central Otago Lakes, which includes Queenstown, sales increased to 84 from 80 in June while the median price fell to $411,000 from $438,750.

Otago sales slipped to 229 from 232, while the median price rose to $223,000 from $219,500 from $220,000 in the previous month. In Southland the median price slipped to $190,000 from $193,500.


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