Slight recovery in Otago house sales

House prices have recovered slightly as the country heads into spring, real-estate figures for September suggest.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand September figures revealed no dramatic trends nationally, with median house prices in seven out of 12 regions dropping compared with last month, institute national president Mike Elford said.

The median national house price for September remained unchanged on the August median of $330,000, but more houses sold - 4499 sales were recorded, compared to 4220 in August.

In Otago, the Central Otago-Lakes median house price rose from $465,000 to $480,000, but Dunedin's dropped from $230,000 to $221,500.

Mr Elford said the relatively small increase in the number of properties sold indicated a slight recovery, but that was expected in spring after a harsh winter.

In Otago (excluding Central Otago Lakes), real-estate agents sold 232 houses, up from August's 188.

The figure was still lower than that recorded for the corresponding month last year, when 263 properties were sold, but higher than the 10-year low of 178.

Nationally, the average number of days taken to sell a house dropped to 52 from 55, but in Otago it dropped dramatically from 60 days to 50.

Institute Otago branch president Stephen Johnston said the situation was looking better than he had predicted, with house sales up and the number of days for a house to sell dropping.

Queenstown realtors remained optimistic despite the fact global credit woes looked set to coincide with a traditionally slow season in the resort town after a September sales lift, Queenstown media spokesman for the Real Estate Institute Adrian Snow said.

Following the downward tracking of sales in Queenstown for the past eight months, September sales were up 24% on August.

However, the 41 house sales represented a 28% drop compared to September last year.

The September median house price was $520,000, up $30,000 on August.

The median a year ago was $477,500.


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