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Home sales increase, prices at record high

07:52 AEST Mon Apr 16 2012
house prices will rise by around five per cent per annum (Thinkstock)
house prices will rise by around five per cent per annum (Thinkstock)

New Zealand home sales climbed 25 per cent in March, while prices reached a fresh record high amid a shortage of listings.

Sales rose to 7330 in March from 5848 the same month a year earlier, and were up from 6168 in February, the Real Estate Institute says.

The national median house sale price gained 1.4 per cent to a record $370,000 and was up from $355,000 in February.

"The real estate market has had a strong March with the largest number of sales in a month since November 2007 and a new record national median price," chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said in a statement.

"Outside of the Auckland and Canterbury regions most of the country is seeing an upward trend in sales volumes, although price gains outside of these centres are relatively modest."

The REINZ figures come after Quotable Value said national property values eased last month, dragging down the quarterly pace of growth that the state-owned valuer uses to measure the residential market.

But the latest ASB quarterly economic forecast predicts house prices to rise about 5 per cent nationwide this year.

The REINZ stratified house price index, which strips out monthly variance in proportion to high or low value housing, rose 1.9 per cent in March has gained 4.2 per cent on an annual basis. The index is 1.1 per cent below its peak in late 2007.

The national median time to sell fell to 35 days from 41 days in March 2011, and was down from 46 days in February.

Median house price movements over the past year:-

* Auckland up 5.4 per cent to $495,200

* Wellington down 5.1 per cent to $393,750

* Christchurch up 11 per cent to $354,250

* Dunedin up 13 per cent to $232,500.