National average rises

The average asking price for homes around the country is near record level, with 10 of 19 regions booking gains for May.

Otago's average asking price is up 3%, at $297,756, and the national figure is $483,524, marginally below the all-time record set in March, according to data released by Paul McKenzie, marketing manager at Realestate.co.nz.

Auckland and Central Otago/Lakes have the top asking prices, at respectively $685,246 (unchanged) and $606,088 (down 1.2%), and are the only areas above $500,000. Marlborough comes in third at $477,192, up 17%.

''The good news for buyers is that the available stock of houses for sale is steadily recovering from the historic low levels of August last year,'' Mr McKenzie said.

There were 10,745 new listings in May, a 5% increase from April, with more than 40,000 homes for sale across the country as at May 31.

''While new property listings remain at similar levels to May last year, some regions experienced a drop year on year, such as the Waikato, which was down 19% on the same month in 2013.''

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