NZ house prices rise 5.8% in June, led by growth outside Auckland

Record migration and low interest rates have bolstered the country's housing market.

New Zealand's median house price rose an annual 5.8 percent in June with strong growth outside of Auckland, according to the Real Estate Institute.

The national median house price increased to $529,000 in June from $500,000 the same month a year earlier, the institute said in a statement. In Auckland house prices lifted 2.5 percent on the year to $850,000 while outside of Auckland prices climbed 11 percent to $431,000.

"New Zealand's property market is showing all the signs of being a two-tier market," chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

Record migration and low interest rates have bolstered the country's housing market, prompting the central bank to tighten up lending rules to reduce the risk to the nation's financial stability.

Norwell said the June data indicates the lending curbs are having a "significant impact in terms of buyers ability to purchase properties." However, "talk of a decline in prices may be premature with the seasonally adjusted median price trends still rising across many regions in New Zealand. The Auckland market is the most mature in terms of the property cycle, however, at worst, prices in the Auckland region are steady at present."

Winter and the upcoming general election - scheduled for September - are also impacting the number of properties being sold, she said.

Sales volumes across the country have continued to decline, with Auckland slumping 33 percent compared to June 2016 and nationally they're down 24.7 percent for the same period. Excluding Auckland, sales volumes shrank 20 percent from a year earlier. The median number of days it took to sell a home increased to 36 days from 31 days in June last year.

"While median prices in Auckland have increased slightly year-on-year, the City of Sails had the second lowest rate of growth in the country in comparison to the 8 percent seen in June 2016 and 27.1 percent increase seen in June 2015. This is evidence that the 'Supercity' has showed signs of price growth slowing down," said Norwell.

"However, most regions across the rest of the country experienced double-digit (or close to it) growth and record median prices have been seen in three regions this month," Norwell added. Median prices were up 14 percent in the Bay of Plenty on the year, and 19 percent in the Manawatu/Wanganui and Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman regions.

The number of properties available for sale rose by 1,895 in June compared to 12 months ago, due largely to listings in the Auckland region climbing by 3,097 or 57 percent.

The number of properties sold by auction continues to decline across New Zealand with 828 auction sales in June representing 14 percent of all sales. This compares to 24 percent of all sales in June 2016 and 13 percent in May. For the year to June, the number of auctions has declined by 27 percent, or 5,706 sales.


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