Otago, Dunedin and the Central Otago Lakes region house prices for December have eclipsed the national median 3.3% annual gain, the three southern areas booking price gains of between 12% and 20%.

Within the Central Otago Lakes region, sales over $1 million almost tripled, to 13, for December. Nationally, there was a 20% gain in $1 million-plus house sales, to 755 for December.

Queenstown, as part of the Lakes region, also booked a staggering 53% increase in its median price for December, from $490,000 to $752,500. Its sales were flat, at 49 a year earlier to 52, reflecting the shortage of listings across Central Otago, and the province in general.

Otago's median, at $282,000, is a record, which was also repeated in Wellington, Nelson-Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and the Waikato-Bay of Plenty.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Colleen Milne said: ‘‘Sales volumes across the [Otago] region remain strong, with more of the sales growth continuing to come from Central rather than Queenstown.''

Sales volumes across Otago, from December 2014 to December 2015, leapt almost 40%, from 177 sales to 246, while the separate Central Otago Lakes region rose almost 30%, from 62 sales to 79, according to the REINZ data released yesterday.

‘‘There's a significant shortage of listings across the region, limiting choice for buyers,'' she said.

REINZ board member for Otago, Southland and the Central Otago Lakes region, Gail Hudson, credited the 53% Queenstown price hike to more ‘‘high end'' homes having sold, which underpinned the higher median price.

She said 13 properties sold in December for more than $1 million, including one for more than $2 million, while a year ago just five sold, two for more than $1million and three for more than $2million.

‘‘The last six weeks have loosened up, than the months earlier, with people now realising they can get a premium [to their selling price],'' she said.

She expected January would provide ‘‘good'' listings and sales data, again reinforced by the higher end sales, plus there had been many section sales lately.

REINZ's Dunedin spokeswoman Liz Nidd said it was ‘‘very pleasing'' to see the lift in median prices for Dunedin and Otago in general, ‘‘which has been a long time in the coming.''

‘‘I can't remember seeing so many contracts on the board ... that was big for a December,'' she said.

Dunedin volumes rose by 39%, from 177 sales last year to 246 in December, and Mrs Nidd also noted separately there were 16 section sales.

‘‘New [housing] stock is coming in, but it was needed as the cupboard was almost bare,'' she said of months-long shortage of listings.

Across Otago, sales numbers were up 25.6% from 242 a year ago to 304, and only North Otago recorded a decline, down from 41 a year ago to 36.

Mrs Nidd expected a ‘‘healthy increase'' on the number of listings in January and also subsequent sales.

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