Onwards and upwards: house prices rise 13%

 New Zealand's median house price rose 13% to a record in November, with all regions posting an increase, according to the Real Estate Institute.

The national median house price increased to $520,000 in November from $459,500 a year earlier, the institute said. The price advanced 2% from the October median level of $510,000. There were 7576 national sales in November, up 13%  from October but 6%  lower than the year earlier.

House prices have continued to rise. Photo: Getty Images
House prices have continued to rise. Photo: Getty Images

Record low interest rates and record high net migration have been underpinning the nation's property market, with today's report showing 10 of 12 regions hit new record high median sale prices last month. Only Auckland and Central Otago Lakes failed to post new record median prices in the latest data, after rapid price increases in both areas.

"Sales volumes and prices have recovered in November," said institute spokesman Bryan Thomson. "For the first time, our map has been dark blue across the entire country, depicting strong year-on-year price growth or record prices in every region, and double-digit growth across the entire North Island. The nationwide median price has also hit a new high."

Regions to hit a new median house price record included Waikato/Bay of Plenty, up 20%  to $470,000, Northland, up 19%  to $399,500, Hawke's Bay up 15%  to $345,000, Manawatu/Wanganui up 18%  to $269,000, Taranaki up 20%  to $358,500, Wellington up 15%  to $500,000, Nelson/Marlborough up 24%  to $466,000, Canterbury/Westland up 5%  to $440,000, Otago up 8%  to $300,000 and Southland up 15%  to $225,000.

Central Otago Lakes recorded the largest percentage increase in median price, up 32%  to $635,500 from November last year, but slipping from October's record $659,000. In Auckland, the median house price increased 11%  to $851,944 from November a year earlier, but the price was down 2%  from October's record of $868,000.

The number of properties available for sale nationwide shrank by 19 percent compared with November last year, with all regions seeing a decline in availability. Wellington has the fewest properties for sale with an estimated nine weeks of supply. The number of days to sell a property remained steady at 32 compared with November last year.

Concern about New Zealand's bubbling housing market has prompted policymakers at the Reserve Bank to introduce tighter restrictions for highly-leveraged lending, and today's report shows stricter conditions around loan-to-value ratio lending is having a bigger impact on lower-priced properties.

The number of homes sold for $1 million or more increased 33%  in November from the year earlier month, accounting for almost 15%  of all properties sold, compared with 10%  of homes a year earlier. In comparison, the number of homes sold for under $400,000 declined 23%  to account for 34% of all properties sold, down from 41% a year earlier.

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