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Sales below expectations: REINZ

Sales turnover in November was weaker than expected, the latest Real Estate Institute figures show.

There were 6691 residential sales last month, 6.6% fewer than the same time last year and up just 2.7% on October.

REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said: “As the average increase between October and November over the last ten years has been more than 10%, this indicates a further softening in sales volumes.  The restrictions on high-LVR lending may well be a driver of the softer sales figures, with sales below $400,000 falling almost 20% compared to November last year.”

The national median price increased $17,475 compared to October to $425,000, a new record median high.  Auckland, Canterbury/Westland, Wellington and Waikato/Bay of Plenty also reached new record median highs in November.

O’Sullivan said: “Analysis of the underlying sales data suggests that changes in the median price this month may be influenced by changes in the sales mix – if sales in the lower pricing bands are taking longer to complete, or not occurring, this would impact on the median house price.  However further data is required before we can determine if this is the beginning of a trend, a short term effect from a change in the pace of sales at certain price points, or a seasonal effect arising from an increase in the number of higher value properties brought to market at this time of year.”  

All regions recorded decreases in sales volume compared to November last year.  Canterbury/Westland recorded the smallest decrease of 1.4%, followed by Hawkes Bay with 2.3% and Waikato/Bay of Plenty 3.4%.  Eight regions showed decreases of more than 5%, including Otago at 26.8%, Taranaki at 25.2% and Nelson/Marlborough at 17.6%.  Seven regions recorded an increase in sales volume in November compared to October, with Wellington recording an increase of 15.4%, followed by Southland with an increase of 8.1% and Hawkes Bay with an increase of 6.6%.

Houses took the same number of days to sell in November as in October, at 31 days.  Compared to November 2012, the number of days to sell improved by two days.

Nationally there were 1718 dwellings sold by auction in November representing 24.7% of all sales and an increase of 11.6% on the number of dwellings sold by auction in November 2012.

Transactions in Auckland again dominated the auction market in November, representing 72.4% of the national total of auction sales.

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