Property prices in New Zealand have reached a new record high, with an average 5% increase on last year and an increase in the number of sales.

Median prices for New Zealand, excluding Auckland, increased by 5.8% annually to $455,000, up from $430,000. However, Auckland’s median price decreased 1.3% from the same time last year, with May 2018 seeing a price of $852,000, down from $862,800 in May 2017.

The data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) also shows that several regions achieved record prices in May. In Northland prices were up 6.7% year on year to $475,000, in Tasman they increased by 16.2% to $612,000 and in Manawatu/Wanganui the record of $305,500 was unchanged from April.

There was strong annual growth in the West Coast of 25.7% to an average of $200,000, the highest price in seven months, while in Otago prices increased by 14.6% to $440,000 and in Hawke’s Bay by 13.2% to $430,000.

Overall, of the 16 regions in New Zealand 13 saw an annual price increase and five of recorded double digit increases. Only three regions, Auckland, Gisborne and Southland, saw a year on year price decrease.

Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive, pointed out that the record median price achieved in Tasman has seen the region overtake both Wellington and the Bay of Plenty to become the second most expensive region in New Zealand in just a single month.

She explained that despite the year on year decrease, Auckland’s median price of $852,000 is actually up $2,000 on April 2018, adding that the market is not actually in decline as the figures are skewed by a decrease in $1 million plus properties year on year.

“In Auckland the market has found a middle ground around the $850,000 mark, as three out of the past five months have seen a median price in this range. This suggests that the standoff between buyers wanting a bargain and sellers wanting an unrealistic price is coming to an end,” she said.

The index also shows that the number of houses sold in May 2018 across New Zealand increased by 1.3% but the number of properties sold in New Zealand excluding Auckland decreased 0.5% year on year while the number of houses sold in Auckland increased 5.4% year on year.

Regions with the largest increases in sales year on year included Nelson with a rise of 25.3%, the West Coast up 20.9%, the highest level for six years, Gisborne up 15.8%, and Hawke’s Bay up 12.5%, the highest sales level for 14 months.

However, sales fell by 16.9% in Tasman year on year, the lowest number of transactions for nine years, were down by 10.4% in Marlborough, down 7.4% in Otago and down 6.6% in Northland.

Norwell also pointed out that the market is recovering after 2017 seeing only year on year volume decreases for New Zealand but now the number of properties sold has increased year on year for four out of the first five months of 2018.

“Further supporting this positive outlook is that across the country is that nine out of 16 regions saw a year on year increase in the number of properties sold, with four of those regions experiencing double digit growth,” she added.

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