Big rise in number of homes sold in February but outside of Auckland prices are largely flat REINZ says

Short headline: 
Housing market buoyant in February

There was a substantial increase in the number of homes sold in February compared with February last year, the Real Estate Institute of NZ said.

 REINZ said 6,898 homes were sold last month, up 12.6% on February last year.

Some of the strongest annual growth in sales numbers occurred in the Waitakere (+16.7%) and Rodney (+31.3%) districts of the Auckland region where sales volumes were up 10.1% overall.

Other regions to post strong annual growth in sales were Northland 17.1%, Waikato/Bay of Plenty 40.6%, Hawke's Bay 11.3%, Manawatu/Wanganui 12.2%, Nelson/Marlborough 10.7% and Otago 21.8%.

But sales volumes were more subdued in Taranaki where they were down 14.6% compared with February last year and in Wellington +8.6%, Canterbury/Westland +4.2%, Central Otago Lakes -6.7% and Southland -9.6%.

Although February's national median selling price of $430,000 was up $4000 compared with January and up $15,000 (3.6%) compared with a year ago, the rise was almost entirely driven by the Auckland market.

While Auckland's median selling price of $675,000 was up 14% compared with a year earlier, when the Auckland figures were removed from the equation, the median selling price of $350,000 for the rest of New Zealand (excluding Auckland) was unchanged from a year earlier. (This Auckland versus the rest issue was highlighted by last month).

In other main centres, the Wellington region's median price of $410,000 was down 2.1% compared with February last year, with the biggest decline occurring in Central Wellington where the median dropped 24.3% on an annual basis, followed by Western Wellington where it was down 7.6% for the year, and Pukerua Bay/Tawa where it was down 6.4%.

In Christchurch the median price of $425,000 was up just 1.1% on February last year.

"The surge in sales volumes in February compared with January was a little stronger than is normal, but this partly reflects a catch up after there were fewer sales than expected in January," REINZ chief executive Colleen Milne said.

"The data also shows that there has been no increase in the median price for New Zealand, excluding Auckland, between February last year and February just gone.

"This underlines again the view that there are two distinct real estate markets in New Zealand – Auckland and the rest of the country.

"While politicians and policy makers focus on solutions to the Auckland region's housing supply problems, they will also be right to reflect on the need to ensure that any national application of new policies doesn't have an adverse effect on the rest of the country."

To read REINZ's full report for February, with median prices, sales numbers and a market commentary for all parts of the country, click on this link.

Also see the interactive charts below which show the historical movement in median selling prices for all regions of the country.


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