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The latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data, released on Tuesday, reveals Otago experienced a 20.7% increase from $489,000 in September last year to $590,000 this September, including Dunedin City’s record median price of $568,000.
Institute chief executive Bindi Norwell said median house prices across New Zealand increased by 14.7% from $596,956 in September 2019 to a new record high of $685,000 in September 2020.
The number of residential properties sold in September across New Zealand increased by 37.1% from the same time last year (from 6112 to 8377) — the highest number of properties sold in a September month for 14 years.
Normally a month out from an election, potential buyers start to take a "wait and see approach" and sales volumes begin easing off.
"However, 2020 appears to continue in its trend of being an anomaly, with the number of properties sold the highest in 42 months, since March 2017, when the country was last experiencing such growth," Ms Norwell said.
"Otago was one of 13 regions which had annual sales volumes increases of more than 20% and 10 regions had increases of more than 30% — the highest number of regions with this level of sales volume increase since April 2015.”
Much of the activity was driven by the extremely low rates at which people could borrow money, which was at its lowest levels since records began and consumers having additional "cash" available due to a lack of international travel and some uplift from returning ex-pats.
"When you then add in high levels of confidence in the housing market, the removal of the LVRs back in March and people’s fear that prices are just going to keep increasing in the future, then this explains why people are going to such lengths to secure a property now.”