Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows there were 7,175 unconditional sales in May, an increase of 26.4% compared to April, and an increase of 1,409 sales (+24.4%) compared with the same time last year. The increase of 26.4% compares with an average increase of 12.3% between April and May over the past 10 years, with May the third strongest month for real estate sales across the year.
The national median house price rose by $4,000 to $369,000, just $1,000 below the record high reached in March 2012. The national median house price is up 5.4% compared to May last year, with Auckland setting a new record median of $500,000, up 7.8% compared to May last year.
All regions recorded increases in sales volume compared to May last year, with Canterbury/Westland recording an increase of more than 56%, followed by Central Otago Lakes with 31.9% and Wellington with 28.3%. Auckland's sales volume increase over May 2011 was 27.6%. Compared to April, all regions also recorded increases in sales volume with Taranaki the strongest region with an increase of 60.3%, followed by Hawkes Bay with 43.9% and Manawatu/Wanganui with 32.9%. Auckland recorded a 29.4% increase in sales in May compared to April.
For the month of May, Taranaki recorded the highest lift in prices for the month with an increase of 11.8%, followed by Manawatu/Wanganui with 4.6%, and Canterbury/Westland with 4.4%. Compared to May 2011, Taranaki also recorded the highest lift in prices with an increase of 9.8%, followed by Canterbury/Westland with 8.8% and Auckland with 7.8%. The REINZ Stratified House Price, which adjusts for some of the variations in mix that can impact on the median price, is 6.4% higher than May 2011 and is now also 0.3% higher than the previous peak of the market in November 2007.
"Sales volumes have been surprisingly strong in May, with all regions recording increases in sales over April and over May last year," said REINZ Chief Executive Helen O'Sullivan. "May is typically stronger than April, ranking as the third busiest month in the year for real estate sales, but the increase is considerably stronger than normal seasonal trends would suggest. This is likely partly driven by good deals on interest rates during the month, and a desire by buyers to complete purchases before winter."
"The strength of the real estate market continues to be focused on Auckland and Canterbury, with Auckland reaching a new milestone with a record median price of $500,000 and Canterbury/Westland again hitting its record median price of $335,000."
The national median 'days to sell' eased by one day in May compared to April, from 37 to 38 days, although the number of days to sell has improved by seven days compared to May 2011. Over the past five years the median days to sell has averaged 41 days across New Zealand.
Auckland and Canterbury/Westland recorded the shortest days to sell at 33 days, followed by Otago with 35 days and Wellington with 42 days. Northland recorded the longest number of days to sell at 67 days, followed by Central Otago Lakes with 63 days and Taranaki with 58 days.
Nationally there were 1,071 dwellings sold by auction in May representing 14.9% of all sales, up from 584 sales in May 2011 representing 10.1% of all sales. Transactions in Auckland again dominated the auction market, representing 71.9% of the national total of auction sales. 27.6% of all dwelling sales in Auckland were by this method in May; this was up strongly from the 16.9% of sales by auction in May 2011. Sales by auction in Waikato/Bay Of Plenty accounted for 11.4% of the national total, Canterbury/Westland accounted for 8.2% of the national total, and all other regions combined accounted for the remaining 8.5% of auction sales in May 2012.
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