December saw both residential property values and sales slide from November, though both market activity and median prices remained up on figures from earlier in the year, according to the Real Estate Institute (REINZ).
"December's residential property sales volumes flagged a little relative to November," said REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan.
But while volumes have ebbed, December's sales were higher than in the months of August to October of the same year. That's relatively rare, as December volumes are usually lower than even the winter months, and bodes well for activity levels in the New Year."
O'Sullivan said the decline in turnover has followed a fall in listings in December and in the number of houses on the market after good sales in November.
"December sales volumes are always subject to the timing and impact of the great New Zealand Christmas shut down and January's figures will provide a better picture of market activity over summer," she said.
"Anecdotally our members are reporting increased activity so it will be interesting to see how that translates into listings and sales."
REINZ figures for December indicate median prices at the end of the year were an average of 2.2% down on December 2009. From $360,000 in November 2010 and in December 2009, the national median average eased back to $352,000 in December 2010, still higher than the median prices in July, August, September and October.
Total property sales fell back to 4,397 in December from 5,138 in November, which is also down on the December 2009 figure of 4,957. But last month's property sales median is up on the August, September and October medians and the volume of 4,397 was higher than the 4,302 transactions in December 2008.
The national median selling time fell slightly from 40 days in November to 39 in December.
Across the country the total value of residential sales, including sections, fell to $1.9 billion in December from $2.26 billion in November.
The breakdown of properties sold is 154 for $1 million plus, 517 between $600,000 and $999,999, 1,106 between $400,000 and $599,999 and 2,620 for under $400,000.
Across the regions Wellington's median last month held steady at the December 2009 median price of $400,000 and sales were up from 548 in December 2009 to 586 in 2010.
Southland's December 2010 median is also the same as 12 months ago at $184,000 while Otago's median price of $235,000 was up 2.17% on the previous year.
In all other districts the December 2010 median price is down between 1.5% and 7.5% on the same month in 2009, with most districts also seeing a fall in sales.