House sales come off highs in April, still driven by Auckland, Christchurch
"The problem for the Reserve Bank is that a high percentage of Asian purchasers are cash buyers..."Featured comment
The number of New Zealand house sales slipped from a six-year high last month, with prices deflating a little, though the national market is still being driven by the country's two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch.
Agents sold 7104 houses in April, down 13 percent from March, though up by 25 percent from the same month last year, according to the Real Estate Institute.
The national median sale price slipped 2.4 percent to $390,500 in April, though were up 7 percent from 2012. Of the annual gains in the median sale price, about 92 percent has come from Auckland and Christchurch.
"Auckland and Canterbury remain the two regions driving the national median price, a point recognised by the Reserve Bank," chief executive Helen O'Sullivan says in a statement.
"We also note that the remaining 10 regions accounted for only 8 percent of the increase in the national median, with four of those regions recording falls."
The Reserve Bank said in its financial stability report that it is considering limits on high loan-to-value home mortgages, which could pose a significant risk to country's financial stability.
Last week state valuer Quotable Value said Auckland property values have climbed 12 percent to $628,205 in the latest 12 months. At the time, QV operations manager Kerry Stewart said demand in parts of Auckland was "so high that there is little opportunity to delay making offers".
REINZ figures show Auckland's median sale price slipped to $555,000 in April from $562,000 a month earlier, up from $490,000 a year ago. The number of house sales fell 16 percent to 2805 from a month earlier and were up by 30 percent from April 2012.
Canterbury/Westland's median sale price fell to $353,000 in April from $359,000 in March and was up from $321,000 a year earlier. The number of house sales fell 5.8 percent to 934 from a month earlier and were up 17 percent from April 2012.
The REINZ stratified median housing price index, which smoothes out peaks and troughs, rose 0.8 percent from March, and was up an annual 9.8 percent. Auckland's stratified housing price was up an annual 14 percent and Christchurch's climbed 13 percent.
The number of days to sell rose 3 days to 34 days in April from March.