March house sales best since 2007

The Otago and Southland real estate markets have helped push the nationwide volume of house sales up by 25.3% in March this year, compared with the corresponding period last year - the best monthly result the market has recorded since November 2007.

March 2012 data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) showed 7330 properties were sold in the New Zealand residential housing market in March, up by 1482 houses on March 2011.

While the number of houses sold in Otago (north, south and east Otago, and Dunedin City) only increased by 4.25% to 270 during the past year, the region recorded the highest lift in median prices, with a 14.8% increase to $246,750.

The increased median price was followed by Canterbury-Westland, with 10.3% andHawkes Bay, with 8.1%.

Despite dipping to $182,250 in February 2012, Southland recorded a 7.7% increase to $200,000 between March 2011 and 2012. Southland properties took the second-shortest time to sell, at 33 days, behind Auckland and Canterbury-Westland, on 31 days.

The median house price in Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District fell 10.7%, and properties took an average of 60 days to sell - the second longest time in the country.

The national median "days to sell" fell by 11 days in March compared to February, from 46 days to 35.

REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the real estate market had been strong in March, when the largest number of sales in a month since November 2007, and a record national median price were recorded.

The national median house price reached $370,000, up 1.4% compared to March last year.

"The new record median price is only $2500 higher than the previous high set in November 2011, and is only $5000 higher than the median price in March 2011.

"Prices are certainly not rising sharply, but the trend is certainly starting to move upwards," she said.


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