Slight dip in house prices doesn't buck upward trend

Median house prices in Dunedin and Queenstown dropped slightly in October from September, but remain significantly higher than at the same time last year, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s (REINZ) latest local figures show.

In Dunedin city, median prices increased 10.9% year-on-year, from $505,000 in October 2019 to $560,000 in October 2020.

Sales volumes were down 8%, with 183 properties sold this October, compared with 199 in October last year.

REINZ regional commentator Liz Nidd said open homes in Dunedin were still busy, attracting up to 20 parties each, and people selling had high expectations of good prices, given demand.

First-home buyers were still active in the market. Conditional buyers were having trouble competing with unconditional buyers.

Access to lending was still an issue for buyers; banks were taking 10-15 working days and asking for much more detail, Mrs Nidd said.

REINZ regional director Gail Hudson said inquiries from buyers were still strong in the Queenstown-Lakes district, where sales volumes increased 47.4% in October compared with October 2019, particularly in the above-$750,000 bracket.

There was a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers and from international Kiwi buyers looking to return home, Mrs Hudson said.

Access to finance was still a challenge for first-time buyers hoping to get on to the property ladder.

In Southland, median house prices increased 17.4% from $315,200 in October 2019, to $270,000 in October this year, REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said.

The number of houses sold year-on-year was up 23.2% to 218 properties sold in October.

Low interest rates and no loan-to-value ratios continued to encourage the full range of buyer groups.

Properties in the above-$500,000 bracket were 20% of sales in October this year, compared with 11% of sales in Southland in October 2019.


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