New Zealand home sales climbed 20 per cent in July as the property market extended its recovery from the 2011 lows on continued strength in Auckland and Christchurch, even as prices fell from June's record high.
The number of sales rose to 5,907 in July from 4,928 the same month a year earlier but were down 3.7 per cent from June, the Real Estate Institute said.
The national median house sale price gained 4.6 per cent compared with July 2011 to $361,000, down from June's record high of $372,000.
"Buyer interest in Auckland and Christchurch remains the engine of the New Zealand residential estate market," chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said.
"We are still seeing recovery rather than boom conditions when we compare the number of transactions in July 2012 with earlier years such as July 2003 when over 10,000 transactions were recorded.
"Buyer caution is also evident in the easing of the national median price this month and the slightly slower pace of transactions in July compared with June."
Auckland and Canterbury/Westland recorded the shortest days to sell a house on 31 days. That's followed by Nelson/Marlborough on 38 days and Central Otago Lakes on 76.
REINZ said the national average median days to sell a house eased by one day to 38 from 37 days in June.
Auckland maintained its record median price of $500,000 for the third month in a row, while Christchurch hit a record median price of $335,000 for the third time since November.
The REINZ figures come after Quotable Value on Thursday said national property values rose 2.2 per cent in the three months ended July 31 and have increased 4.6 per cent over the past year, to be 0.8 per cent off the market peak in 2007.