January 2012 saw a 25.2% rise in house sales making it the best January for sales volumes since 2008, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).
In their January 2012 market update REINZ reported 4,073 unconditional sales for the month - 821 more than the year earlier.
The national median house price was steady at $355,000 in January and is up 4.4%, or $15,000, on January 2011.
"The real estate market in January has continued on from the strong result in December, with a more than 25% lift in sales across the country compared to January last year and the highest number of transactions in a January month since 2008," said REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan.
"A shortage of listings is still apparent in many areas with agents in a number of regions, including Auckland, reporting shortages of properties available to market and increasing levels of buyer frustration."
While January transaction numbers followed the usual seasonal pattern and were lower than December, on a seasonally adjusted basis the national total was down just 4%.
Only one region, Southland, recorded a decline in sales volumes compared to January last year, with all other regions apart from Taranaki recording double-digit growth.
Compared to December, Taranaki recorded the highest lift in prices for the month, up 6.7%, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui (6.5%) and Northland (5.5%).
Compared to January 2011, Taranaki also recorded the highest lift in prices, up 11.4%, followed by Otago (9.7%) and Canterbury/Westland (8.3%).
The REINZ Stratified House Price, which adjusts for some of the variations in mix which can impact on the median house price, is 4.3% higher than January 2011 but has eased back in the past few months.
"Prices remain relatively stable despite the supply pressure, which probably reflects the reluctance of buyers to over extend themselves while economic uncertainty continues," O'Sullivan said.
The national days to sell rose by 12 days in January compared to December, from 35 to 47 days, however on a seasonally adjusted basis the number of days to sell remained steady.
The shortest days to sell was recorded in Auckland at 37 days, followed by Canterbury/Westland (39 days) and Otago (48 days).
Northland recorded the longest number of days to sell at 72 days, followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty (63 days) and Manawatu/Wanganui (61 days).
January also saw 231 sales by auction, representing 5.7% of all sales, up from 137 (4.2%) in January 2011. The majority of auction sales were in Auckland at 68.9% followed by Waikato/Bay of Plenty (15.2%) and Canterbury/Westland (4.7%).
In the Auckland region auction sales represented 11.2% of all sales. After adjusting for seasonal factors, over one-in-four sales in the Auckland region are now concluded by auction.