House sales on the increase due to 'spring uplift'

Otago experienced a 12 per cent increase in annual house sales in September. Photo: RNZ
Otago experienced a 12 per cent increase in annual house sales in September. Photo: RNZ

The real estate market has sprung back into life, but national sales volumes were flat.

The Real Estate Institute's House Price Index, which measures the changing value of property, rose 3.6 per cent to a record high in the year to September.

The median house prices across New Zealand increased 7.3 per cent, to a record high of $597,000, over the year earlier.

Median house prices in Auckland rose 0.5 per cent to $848,000, and sales volumes were up nearly 3.6 per cent in the region over the year before.

Regions with the highest volume of sales growth included Otago at +12.0 per cent while Southland saw the greatest decrease in annual sales at -27 per cent.

Meanwhile, Westpac has predicted that the cancellation of capital gains tax and tumbling mortgage rates would raise house prices up to 7 per cent in 2020.

The bank predicts that the turnaround of the market would be most pronounced in Christchurch and Auckland, where markets have been weakest.

The regions with the biggest increase in median prices included Manawatū-Whanganui, Southland, Taranaki and Hawke's Bay.

Those with the biggest price drops were West Coast, Northland and Nelson.

While the national volume of sales was flat, REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said it was the highest number of properties sold in a September month for three years.

"This suggests that we're starting to see the usual spring uplift and also that more confidence is starting to creep back into the market," she said.

-additional reporting by NZ Herald.

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