Central Otago/Lakes home prices lead country

Asking prices for homes in the Central Otago/Lakes area - at a record $782,684 - has left the remainder of the country trailing in its wake.

Nationally, the average asking price of $488,711 for homes across the country in July was just below the all-time record set in June, according to Realestate.co.nz, the website of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

Marketing manager at Realestate.co.nz Paul McKenzie said home sellers were still expecting near-record prices for their homes, with three regions achieving record high asking prices during July.

Waikato sellers want $394,806 for their homes, marginally higher than the previous March high, while in Canterbury, the new average asking price of $461,032 was about 2.6% above the January record.

''However, these figures pale against the high of $782,682 in Central Otago/Lakes, a price that outstrips the record set in May 2013 by nearly 10%,'' Mr McKenzie said.

Not only was the asking price the highest, but the number of Central Otago /Lakes listings had grown significantly, with nearly 13% more properties on the market than in July last year.

Otago was up 6.7% to $301,027, Canterbury rose 3.8% to $461,032, but Southland declined 1.4% to $232,696.

Across the country, whether reporting data on median or average prices, or values, the number of houses on the market has slumped.

In separate, recent REINZ data, median house prices during July rose 8% to $416,00, but the number of sales slumped 13%, with Otago's sales numbers down 20%.

Data from Quotable Value revealed a 7.6% gain in house values for July, but sales volumes were down 15% on 2013, and 25% down on 2013 figures.

Mr McKenzie said while the total number of new listings in July around the country was more than the June total, they were not as high as a year ago.

''Every year, we see a surge in the number of properties in the market when spring comes around,'' Mr McKenzie said.

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