Month-on-month house sales around Otago and in the separate
Central Otago Lakes region have surged during February, up
respectively about 30% and 80%.
Compared with February a year ago, the median price in the
Central Otago Lakes region rose from $395,000 to $450,000;
underpinned by Queenstown's median at $540,000, while Otago
prices rose from $239,750 a year ago to $243,000, with
Dunedin up about $10,000 at $268,000, according to monthly
data released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand
Otago's sales went from 196 in January to 258 in February,
while Central Otago Lakes went from 34 to 61 during the same
ASB senior economist Jane Turner said housing demand had
steadily lifted during the past year, reflecting increased
demand from both owner-occupiers and investors.
"Improving labour market conditions, low interest rates and
an increase in net migration inflows will continue to support
housing demand over 2013,'' Ms Turner said.
She cautioned that while the Reserve Bank was likely to hold
the interest driving official cash rate at the record low
2.5% until March next year, if housing market and credit
demand pressures intensified further, there was a possibility
the Reserve Bank would use macro-prudential tools, such as
implementing loan-to-value ratios, during the next year.
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said in a statement
the national median price rose 7.6% to $382,000 compared with
February 2012, but remained below the record $389,000 set
"While residential real estate remains active, the rate of
growth in the number of transactions is slowing despite
prices being near record levels,'' she said.
Supply shortages in Auckland and Christchurch were the main
constraint, reflected in double-digit price increases in
those regions, she said.
Ms Turner said while the official cash rate was the most
effective tool for dampening housing demand, during the
coming year the Reserve Bank had to weigh up increased
housing pressure against a high New Zealand dollar, gradual
economic recovery, drought impacts and subdued inflation