REINZ News Release – Improving volumes, easing prices in May 2011 Real Estate Market

News Release 13 June 2011

Improving volumes, easing prices in May 2011 Real Estate Market

The national housing market recorded a further lift in volumes during the month of May, with the seasonally adjusted number of sales up 2.6% compared to April, according to REINZ figures, the most up-to-date data series on the New Zealand real estate market. Across New Zealand 5,766 unconditional sales were reported for the month of May, up 779 on the number of sales reported for April and 560 more than last May. The national median house price at $350,000 was equal to the same month of last year, but down by $10,000 from April 2011.

Across New Zealand the Manawatu/Wanganui region recorded the strongest lift in prices (+4.5%) for the month of May. Most regions experienced a slight decline in prices, in line with the movement in the national median. There were also strong lifts in volumes across a number of North Island regions, with South Island regions experiencing a fall in volumes after a stronger performance in April.

“The May results show further steady increases in volumes across New Zealand with particular strength coming from the Auckland market. Although prices eased slightly, there are signs of pressure building, with a lack of new listings becoming apparent in many parts of the city”, said REINZ Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan, “We are also seeing indications from a number of other parts of the country of an emerging shortage of listings.”

The BNZ-REINZ Market Survey of real estate agents shows that the shortage of listings has now emerged as the second most popular reason holding buyers back, replacing concerns about securing finance. In addition to the tightening market in Auckland, concerns about shortages of listings are appearing in Palmerton North, Taranaki and certain parts of Christchurch.

Despite volumes rising from previous levels the real estate market is only just starting to emerge from a sustained slump in activity. The number of sales in May 2011 was just 62% of the volumes in the month of May 2007 (5,776 vs 9,285). For the 12 months ended May 2007 there were 105,886 sales compared to 55,389 for the 12 months ended May 2011.

 The national median house price in May 2007 was $350,000, exactly the same as the median house price recorded this month. The national median ‘days to sell’ (measuring the number of days from listing date to unconditional date) eased from 43 days in April 2011 to 45 days in May 2011, compared with 43 days in May 2010. Auckland again recorded the shortest days to sell at 36 days, with Canterbury/Westland next shortest at 41 days. Central Otago Lakes recorded the longest number of days to sell at 89 days, with Northland next longest at 79 days. Most regions recorded an easing in the number of days to sell, with only Canterbury/Westland and Southland showing an improvement.

 Further Data

Across New Zealand the total value of residential sales, including sections rose to $2.46 billion in May 2011, compared to $2.21 billion in April 2011 and $2.27 billion in May 2010.

The breakdown of the value of properties sold in May 2011 is:

$1 million plus                              180              3.1%

$600,000 to$999,999             695            12.1%

$400,000 to $599,999         1,421            24.6%

Under $400,000                     3,470           60.2%

All Properties Sold                  5,766          100.0%

The REINZ Housing Price Index fell 1.8% in May compared with April 2011, with the stratified median house price at just under $359,000. The REINZ Housing Price Index recorded increases in Christchurch and Other North Island, but also recorded falls in Auckland, Wellington and Other South Island.

Compared to May 2010, the Housing Price Index fell 0.7%, and the Index is now 5.8% below the peak recorded in November 2007. The Section Price Index rose 12.6% in May 2011 and is now 13.5% below its peak recorded in July 2008.

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