Dunedin's housing prices continued their inexorable climb last month, with year on year prices up 21.3% to a medium of $485,000, latest numbers from the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) show.

 

The city led a 19.6% improvement in average pricing throughout Otago, despite a nominal decline in median house prices in the Queenstown-Lakes district to $995,000.

However, more than 40% more homes were sold in the Lakes area last month than in September 2018, leading a 12% spike in the number of homes sold throughout Otago, from 324 to 363 - the highest for the month of September in three years.

Bayleys Realty Cromwell branch manager Gail Hudson reported an increase of 6.5% in new listings, ''one of only three regions alongside Nelson and the Coromandel to do so''.

Nidd Realty and REINZ regional commentator Liz Nidd said the Dunedin market had lived up to its expectation of increased activity into spring, with plenty of new property coming on to the market.

''Dunedin City is continuing to perform very strongly relative to other main centres.''

The latest figures from REINZ showed a national increase in house prices of 6.6% for the month, the median price being a shade under $600,000, up from $560,000 a year ago.

Otago came in slightly under average price hikes of 24.1% in Manawatu-Whanganui to $397,000 and a 22% increase in Southland to $315,000.

Conversely, the REINZ figures show declines across the West Coast, which dipped below $200,000 to $185,000 and Northland, down 5.5% to an average sale price of $477,000.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said September was a strong month for prices, as overall median prices rises were recorded in 13 out of 16 regions.

''Median prices are lifting as a result of a number of influences such as the OCR drop back in August, which is slowly injecting more confidence into the market, and the continued lack of supply across many parts of the country,'' Ms Norwell said.

Auckland also experienced the first annual increase in median prices for the region in 11 months, albeit modest.

''This rise was the result of an uplift in the percentage of properties sold between the $750,000 and million dollar mark and the 6.3% rise in median prices in Waitakere City - the only territorial authority in Auckland to see a median price increase during September,'' she said.

The number of residential properties sold across New Zealand in September increased by 3.3% from the corresponding time last year, with new owners for an additional 188 homes at 5896.

A total of 205 homes were sold in Dunedin City, compared with 66 in the Queenstown Lakes district, 37 in the Waitaki and 35 throughout Central Otago.

''That's the second annual increase in sales volumes we've seen this year and the highest number of properties we've seen sold for the month of September in three years,'' Ms Norwell said.

In Auckland, the number of properties sold in September increased by 6.3% year-on-year (to 1823 up from 1715) the second annual increase so far this year.

At the other end of the country, only 130 houses were sold in Southland during the month, the lowest non-January figure since December 2014.

Reflecting the more buoyant spring market, the average number of days to sell a property nationally decreased by four days to 35 days.

Meanwhile, the total number of properties available for sale nationally decreased 7.3% in September 2019 to 21,174, down from 22,847 to 1673 properties compared with 12 months ago.

Eleven out of 15 regions had an annual decrease in total inventory levels, the largest percentage decreases being in Gisborne (from 120 to 74), the West Coast (from 470 to 310) and Southland (from 445 to 343).

Nationally, just over a third of all properties are now being listed at an asking price of $500,000 or below, the REINZ survey shows.

brent.melville@odt.co.nz

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