New Zealand house prices rose in July as more houses changed hands, suggesting first-home buyers are trying to secure properties ahead of possible Reserve Bank restrictions on buyers with low deposits.
The median house price rose 6.6 per cent to $NZ385,000 ($A340,076) in July from the year earlier month, with all 12 regions posting an increase, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Some 6,777 dwellings changed hands, up 15 per cent from the year earlier, with nine regions recording an increase, the institute said.
The Reserve Bank is expected to raise the benchmark interest rate from a record low 2.5 per cent next year in part to contain the housing market in Auckland, where a supply shortage has driven up prices, and Christchurch, which is being rebuilt following a series of earthquakes.
The strong property market figures for July come as the central bank mulls the use of new macro-prudential tools to restrict the volume of low equity mortgages on concern pressure in the housing market poses a risk to financial stability.
“It is the most active winter the residential real estate market has seen for a while, with the volume of sales higher than would normally be expected for this time of year,” Institute chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said.
House sales were at a six-year high for the month of July.
“Reports from agents around the country suggest that first home buyers are moving quickly to secure properties ahead of any move by the Reserve Bank to impose lending restrictions on buyers with lower deposits.”
July is usually one of the quietest months for real estate but the normal winter slowdown hasn’t happened this year, Ms O’Sullivan said.
Otago recorded a new record median price of $NZ266,778 while the Nelson/Marlborough region recorded the largest increase in median price from the year earlier, up 15 per cent, followed by Central Otago Lakes and Taranaki.