Price index to hearten homeowners

Bindi Norwell, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, during a presentation in Dunedin. Photo: Linda Robertson
Bindi Norwell, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, during a presentation in Dunedin. Photo: Linda Robertson
Otago's residential housing price index appears set to end 2018 on a high.

For November, Otago's price index gained by 11.6% annual growth, the third-largest gain across the country, with December's data due out in the middle of this month.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's monthly housing price index, released last month for November, saw the national index rise overall 3.5% to hit a record 2758, while Otago's 11.6% gain propelled its index to a record 2823.

The index measures the changing value of property in the market.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said the index again saw 11 out of 12 regions experience an increase over the past 12 months to November, which highlighted the continued strength of the property market.

She predicted that once the December data was released later this month, it would likely show a steady market with prices remaining at similar levels.

The only exception was Auckland, where its housing price index decreased by 0.6% year-on-year to 2873.

The findings from the house price index were also reflected in the November national median price, which rose 6.5% from $540,000 a year ago to a record $575,000, while Otago rose 16% to $472,000.

Southland was one of six regions to make record median prices, up 3.8% from $265,000 a year ago to $275,000.

Housing inventory reveals how long it would take to sell all housing in a region if there were no new listings.

Ms Norwell said Wellington again had the lowest level with seven weeks' inventory, while next with the largest inventory declines was Otago and Gisborne, as both had eight weeks' inventory available to prospective purchasers.

The number of properties available for sale nationally decreased by 0.5% from 27,488 to 27,361 for November, a decrease of 127 properties compared to 12 months ago.

''This is the first decrease in inventory in three months,'' she said.

The regions with the biggest falls in inventory were Gisborne and Otago.

Ms Norwell said Gisborne's inventory was down 28.2% from 163 to 117, or 46 fewer properties, while Otago was down by 24.5% from 756 to 571, or 185 fewer properties.

For the first time since March 2015 Auckland's total point score on the housing price index had been overtaken.

Auckland's 2873 index level was beaten by gains in Waikato, which rose by 6.7% to 2879.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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