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Sales Volumes Rise In September Real Estate Market

Press Release – Real Estate Institute Of New Zealand

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data on the New Zealand housing market for September 2011 showed 5,235 unconditional sales for the month, up 912 sales (+21.1%) compared to September last year. The national volume of sales for September 2011 …

News Release 12 October 2011
Sales Volumes Rise In September Real Estate Market, Prices Trending Sideways
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data on the New Zealand housing market for September 2011 showed 5,235 unconditional sales for the month, up 912 sales (+21.1%) compared to September last year. The national volume of sales for September 2011 was just 43 higher than the August 2011 figure, a modest result given the lift usually expected during spring. When adjusted for the seasonal pattern expected at this time of year the volumes are approximately 2.3% weaker. The national median house price eased by $5,000 to $350,000 (-1.4%) in September compared to August and is flat compared with September 2010.

While the national total showed an increase, regional markets showed considerable variability. Northland recorded the strongest rise in volumes compared to August (+30.0%). Otago had the next strongest rise, (+12.7%), followed by Manawatu/Wanganui (+12.4%). Wellington recorded the largest drop in sales (-9.3%), followed by Taranaki (-7.9%) and Waikato/Bay of Plenty (-6.5%). Volumes in the Auckland market were just a 1.5% increase over August, which is relatively flat given the seasonal lift usually apparent at this time of year.

Hawkes Bay recorded the strongest lift in prices for the month of September (+8.3%), followed by Auckland (+4.9%), Wellington (+4.1%) and Nelson/Marlborough (+1.9%). Compared to September 2010, Auckland recorded the strongest lift in prices (+5.6%), followed by Canterbury/Westland (+4.7%) and Hawkes Bay (+2.2%).

“The volume data indicates that the New Zealand real estate market is in better shape when compared with this time last year with volumes up over 20% compared to September last year and a continued reduction in the number of days to sell. That improvement is flattening out with a weaker than usual seasonal lift from August volumes. There is clear evidence from across the country that buyers are very focused on value and are well informed about what they can afford and are prepared to pay,” said REINZ Chief Executive Helen O’Sullivan. “We’re seeing is a very interesting market with listings improving though still reported as tight, plenty of buyer interest but only on a very rational basis – there is no appetite on the part of buyers to overpay or rush to purchase.”

The national median ‘days to sell’ (measuring the number of days from listing date to unconditional date) improved by 2 days from 39 days in August to 37 days in September. The days to sell were at 43 in September 2010. This is the shortest number of days to sell since March 2010, and continues the trend evident over the winter of a shortening in the number of days to sell.

Auckland again recorded the shortest days to sell at 32 days (-1 day), followed by Otago and Southland at 36 days (-10 days and -1 day, respectively), with Wellington and Canterbury/Westland next with 38 days (-6 days and +3 days, respectively). Taranaki and Central Otago Lakes both recorded the longest number of days to sell at 79 days (+4 days and +12 days, respectively), followed by Northland at 56 days (-11 days). Over the past five years the median days to sell has averaged 41 days across New Zealand.

“We are continuing to see the national median house price move in a range between $345,000 and $365,000 as it has done for about the last two years, with no strong driver for change in either direction ”, said O’Sullivan.

Further Data

Across New Zealand the total value of residential sales, including sections was $2.27 billion in September 2011, compared to $2.18 billion in August 2011 and $1.80 billion in September 2010.

The breakdown of the value of properties sold in September 2011 is:

$1 million plus 184 3.5%
$600,000 to$999,999 617 11.8%
$400,000 to $599,999 1,276 24.4%
Under $400,000 3,158 60.3%
All Properties Sold 5,235 100.0%

The REINZ Housing Price Index rose 1.7% in September compared with August. The REINZ Housing Price Index recorded increases in all markets during September, with the strongest rises recorded in Christchurch and Auckland. Compared to September 2010 the REINZ Housing Price Index rose 2.7%, and the Index is now 3.0% below the peak recorded in November 2007 (see table and chart below).
REINZ Stratified Median Housing Price Index Chart
REINZ Stratified Median Housing Price Index Statistics

* CAGR is Compound Annual Growth Rate

—– ENDS —–
For further information, please contact:
For national matters – REINZ Spokesperson:
Helen O’Sullivan Tel: 09 356 1757 or mobile 021 994 626
Or For local district enquiries – Spokespeople:
Auckland / Northland Helen O’Sullivan 021 994 626
Waikato/BOP/Gisborne Philip Searle 021 338 487
Hawkes Bay Elanor MacDonald 021 749 477
Taranaki Garry Malcolm 027 443 0095
Manawatu/Wanganui Tim Mordaunt 027 442 3530
Wellington Euon Murrell 027 445 8191
Nelson/Marlborough Paul Hedwig 027 432 8528
Canterbury/Westland Tony McPherson 027 458 7812
Otago/Southland Liz Nidd 021 328 135
Central Otago Lakes Adrian Snow 021 443 543
For more real estate information and market trends data, visit For New Zealand’s most comprehensive range of listings for residential, lifestyle, rural, commercial, investment and rental properties, visit – REINZ’s official property directory website.
Editor’s Note:
The monthly REINZ residential sales reports remain the most contemporary and up-to-date statistics on house prices and sales in New Zealand. They are based on actual sales reported by real estate agents. These sales are taken as of the date that a transaction becomes unconditional and includes sales as of 5:00pm on the last business day of the month. Other surveys of the residential property market are based on information from Territorial Authorities regarding settlement and the receipt of documents by the relevant Territorial Authority from a solicitor. As such, this information involves a lag of four to six weeks before the sale is recorded by the Territorial Authority.
The REINZ Monthly Housing Price Index is calculated using a technique known as stratification, which provides an averaging of sales prices for common groups of houses. This approach is considered a more robust analysis of actual house price trends and was developed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank.
The REINZ Monthly Housing Price Index is based on a value of 1000 in January 1992, the first month for which electronic information is available. Changes in the index represent movements in housing prices, where the mix of sales between the groups is held constant and are more likely to reflect genuine property price movements.
Regional Commentaries – September 2011


Northland reported the strongest lift in sales volumes compared to August 2011, with all markets showing a strong lift in volumes. The easing in prices reflects in part buyers’ reluctance to pay a premium and a preference for waiting for the ‘right’ property. The continuing shortage of listings, despite the seasonal lift as we move into spring, is holding some buying activity back.

The days to sell for Northland improved by further 11 days to 56 days for September, compared to 67 days in August and continues the trend of steady improvement over most of 2011. Compared to September 2010 the days to sell improved by four days.

Auckland Region

The Auckland region recorded the 2nd strongest lift in the median price compared to August and the strongest lift compared to September 2011. Prices rose across the board with noticeable strength in Auckland City. Some higher value suburbs are experiencing strong lifts in prices, although not across the board. Volumes across the city have been slightly stronger than the national result compared to August and softer compared to September 2011. Anecdotal reports suggest that the Rugby World Cup has had some impact on open home attendance, but committed buyers still appear to be active.

The days to sell measure has continued to improve with a further reduction of one day to 32 days in September, compared to 33 days in August, and 37 days in September 2010. Auckland’s days to sell are now the shortest since December 2009.

Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne

The Waikato/Bay of Plenty region recorded the 4th strongest lift in volume compared to September 2010, with very strong growth in Waikato Country, Tauranga and Taupo. Eastern Bay of Plenty Country has been included for the first time this month and shows a strong lift in prices compared to August 2011 and September 2010. Most markets eased back compared to August, after a strong performance in August.

The median sale price eased by $19,500 to $300,000 compared to August 2011, and was also weaker compared to September last year. Price weakness was recorded in Tauranga, Taupo and Waikato Country compared to August, although there was a noticeable lift in prices in Rotorua after a period of weakening prices.

The shortage of listings across the region has eased, although buyers remain focused on value and finding the right property.

The days to sell fell by one more day in September to 53 days, following a fall of ten days over the past two months. The days to sell in September 2010 was 58 days, thus a 5 day improvement in the days to sell over the past 12 months.
Hawkes Bay

Sales volumes in the Hawkes Bay region eased back further in September, although there was a small lift in sales volume in Hastings.

The rise in the median price for the Hawkes Bay region was the strongest across New Zealand in September and the 3rd strongest compared to September 2010. The lift in prices in September follows weak prices in August and returns the region’s median price to its 12 month moving average.

The days to sell for the Hawkes Bay region improved by three days from 43 days in August to 40 days in September, and by 11 days compared to August 2010.


The median house price for the Manawatu/Wanganui region remained steady compared to August and was $3,500 higher compared to September 2010. Prices eased back in Palmerston North and Fielding, but were noticeably stronger in Wanganui, after a weak August result. The shortage of listings has eased back in the region with the start of spring; however, buyers remain cautious and in no hurry to purchase.

The days to sell eased back by three days, from 50 days in August to 53 in September, although this is two days shorter than September 2010.


The Taranaki property market remains subdued with a noticeable weakening of sales volumes compared to September 2010 and no noticeable impact from the start of spring. Prices have also eased back further compared to August this year and September last year.

Although the number of listings is increasing buyers remain cautious with a preference to wait for the right property at the right price, rather than purchase quickly. In line with this the days to sell eased by a further four days in September to 79 days, compared to 75 in August. Compared to September last year the days to sell has eased by 21 days (three weeks).


The increase in volumes in the Wellington region recorded in August more or less reversed in September, with Upper Hutt and Eastern Wellington recording noticeable falls in volumes (after rising the most in August). Part of this weakening in volumes, despite the start of spring, is attributed to concerns around cutbacks in the Government sector.

The median price rose by $15,000 compared to August, with noticeable rises being seen in Central Wellington, Hutt Valley and Southern Wellington. However, compared to September 2010 prices have eased back by $18,500 with noticeable weakness in the Wairarapa and Upper Hutt.

Despite these mixed signals from the price and volume movements the days to sell improved by six days from 44 in August to 38 in September. This is also a one day improvement compared to September 2010.


Nelson/Marlborough recorded the 4th strongest lift in volumes compared to August, with a noticeable rise is sales volume in Marlborough/Kaikoura after a weak August. The median price across the region increase by just under 2% compared to August, but eased back 1.2% compared to September 2010.

The shortage of listings in the region has eased with the arrival of spring, although there is still a shortage of properties for sale, and buyers remain very value focused even for the right property.

The days to sell eased by four days from 42 in August to 46 in September and by six days compared to September 2010.

The volume changes compared to September 2010 are distorted because of the impact of the first earthquake in Christchurch 12 months ago, thus may not provide a reliable guide to activity. What is noticeable from this annualized change in volumes is the leap in sales in other parts of the region, noticeably Rangiora, North Canterbury and South Canterbury.

The key issue reportedly facing both buyers and vendors is insurance, which remains the main barrier to completing property transactions. Listings are still in short supply, despite some improvement during September.

Prices across the region eased back in August, although they are nearly 5% higher than 12 months ago. However, most of the change in prices has been outside of Christchurch in other parts of the region, noticeably Mid and South Canterbury, with prices in Christchurch falling and rising less than the region as a whole.

The problems with insurance are reflected in the days to sell result with this measure easing by three days in September to 38 days from 35 in August, although it remains two days shorter than the 40 days recorded in September 2010.

Central Otago Lakes

The Central Otago Lakes region recorded an easing in volumes in September following a solid lift in volumes in August. The median price eased back across the region, although it was really a tale of two markets with Central seeing falling prices but stronger volumes and Queenstown reporting higher prices but weaker volumes.

The median days to sell eased by 12 days in September to 79 days from 67 days in August. The days to sell were 65 days in September 2010.

Volumes across the Otago region were the 2nd strongest compared to August 2011 and 2nd strongest compared to September 2010 with all markets showing higher sales numbers. Anecdotally this is attributed at least in part to relocations from Christchurch.

Prices eased back compared to August, although this was after a strong run up during August. Prices were flat compared to September 2010.

The days to sell improved by 10 days from 46 days in August to 36 days in September, giving Otago the 2nd shortest number of days to sell for September. Over the past two months the days to sell for Otago has improve by 18 days in total. The days to sell in September 2010 was 47 days.


The Southland region recorded a very modest increase in sales volume in September after large drop in August, although the region recorded the 2nd worst change in volumes compared to September 2010. Prices were also weaker across the region with a noticeable drop in Invercargill offset to some extent by an increase in prices in Gore.

The days to sell improved by one day from 37 days in August to 36 days in September, although the days to sell is one day weaker than in September 2010.

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