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14-10-2010

House sales ease up slightly

Landlords.co.nz

The residential housing market remained relatively steady in September, although sales showed a slight improvement from the previous month, according to the Real Estate Institute (REINZ).

By Maddy Milicich

There were 4,323 residential properties sold in September, compared to 4,287 in August, but sales are still at their lowest September monthly total for at least a decade. September's figures also remain less than half the total number of properties sold in September 2006, which the market was at the height of the boom.

REINZ spokesman Bryan Thomson says subdued sales could be attributed to uncertainty over the rise in GST and tax cuts, which came into effect on 1 October. He also cites the "shocking" spring weather the country has been experiencing as having an impact on the market.

"We would expect to see a pick-up in the market in coming months as warmer spring and summer weather generally brings an influx of new property listings onto the market providing more choice for buyers," Thomson says.

In the Canterbury/Westland region, the devastating earthquake on September 4 continues to have an effect, with the region's total sales of 396 for September less than half that recorded for the same month last year. It is also down 227 sales, or 36%, on August.

The national median sale price remained steady at $350,000, the same as in August.

"It's pleasing the median price has held relatively steady at $350,000 for the past two months, which is $20,000 up on September 2008 when the market was at its worst in the midst of the global economic crisis," Thomson says.

From district to district, changes in the median prices varied from increases of up to 14.81% in three regions, to falls of up to 4.77% in eight regions compared with the same month last year.

The national number of days to sell remained steady at 43 for September, the same as the previous month, but 10 days longer than the 33 days recorded in September last year.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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