Housing market shows signs of picking up

By | November 14, 2008

Source: NZ Herald

Friday Nov 14, 2008

House prices in Auckland and nationally are up and agents say a rosier picture of the market is finally beginning to emerge.

Auckland prices rose from a median $420,000 in September to $433,000 last month and the national median nudged up from $330,000 to $335,000.

Real Estate Institute figures out yesterday showed price rises in five out of the 12 regions surveyed nationally. But the country’s national median price is still well under the $350,000 reached in October last year.

Agents selling houses in Northland, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Southland all enjoyed better prices last month than in September.

“Despite all the negative stuff and people talking about a 30 per cent price drop, this is really good,” said institute vice-president Peter McDonald.

Most Auckland suburban areas showed big price rises.

Waitakere’s median rose from $360,000 in September to $390,000 on the back of 173 sales last month.

Manukau’s was up from $397,000 to $416,000 based on 281 sales.

Papakura recorded 50 sales last month and its median price rose from $293,000 to $301,000.

Agents selling places in the Auckland City Council boundaries recorded 465 sales and a median price rise from $450,000 to $472,000. Sales in the Franklin area pushed up the median from $365,000 in September to $367,000.

North Shore bucked the trend. Based on 249 sales last month, prices dropped from $445,000 to $420,000.

Agents in Rodney district made 97 sales but this area’s median dropped from $440,000 in September to $435,000.

ASB economist Jane Turner said the housing data showed mixed results. “While turnover remains weak at very low levels, the median house price and the median number of days to sell showed some slight improvement.

“Typically, we avoid reading too much into monthly moves in house prices, as the sample is subject to compositional shift.

“However, surprisingly, the median number of days to sell also implied some improvement in the housing market, falling from 56 to 51.

“The number of days to sell is generally a fairly reliable barometer of the balance between supply and demand in the housing market, and the fall is consistent with an improvement in prices.”