Auckland and Canterbury continue to dominate New Zealand's
housing market, while Queenstown and Dunedin reflect the more
fickle and muted regional trends.
Nationally, residential house sales for July slumped 13% on
last year, while the national median price rose more than 8%,
or $31,000, to $416,000 - underpinned by Auckland and
Otago largely mirrored the national trend. Its sales were
down 20% on a year ago, from 240 homes to 190, and median
price down 8.5%, from $266,778 last year to $244,000, Real
Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data out yesterday
While Queenstown notched up a 13.3% median price gain, from
$525,000 to $595,000, its sales were also down 20%, from 49
The wider Central Otago-Lakes region, which includes
Queenstown, booked a 5.9% price decline, from $478,000 to
$450,000, with this July's 91 sales the same number as in
July last year.
Dunedin sales were down almost 20%, from 177 homes to 142,
and the median price fell almost 4%, from $280,000 to
REINZ Otago-Southland spokeswoman Liz Nidd said the market
was ''still feeling grim''.
She noted Dunedin prices were only just above the previous
2007 high; banks were closely scrutinising structural,
building and electrical risks; and vendors had high
expectations of making gains.
''The banks are getting tighter and tighter on any perceived
element of risk'' and many potential deals were failing to
close, she said.
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the market was
''firmly in winter mode''. Listings were low and ''activity
muted across the country''.
Seasonally, sales had picked up a little in July from June,
but the imminent election was probably also influencing buyer
behaviour, she said.
It was worth noting Auckland and Canterbury-Westland
accounted for more than 100% of the increase in the national
median price between July last year and July this year, which
was ''a further indication that the national price is being
driven by these two regions alone'', she said.
Reports on the effects of the Reserve Bank's loan-to-value
ratio (LVR) restrictions on banks continue, particularly from
the regions, where a lack of buyers is reportedly filtering
up the tiers of housing price bands.