Hawke's Bay Property Investors' Association

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14-07-2010

Home sales sink further to second-worst June in 10 years

Landlords.co.nz

Residential sales volumes sank to the second-lowest volume in a June month in the past decade as the property market remains mired in the doldrums, according to Real Estate Institute data.

Total residential sales fell to 4,575 last month from 5,206 in May, and 6,040 in June last year. That's only the second time in the past 10 years that a June month has recorded fewer than 5,000 sales, the first being in 2008.

The median number of days to sell rose to 45 from 43 in May and 41 days in the same month a year earlier, and is 15 days longer than when the property boom peaked in 2007.

The property market has weakened this year as uncertainty over how the government would treat tax on buildings sent jitters among investors, though since the changes were unveiled in May, not much has changed in homeowners' behaviour.

The data comes as state-owned QV Valuations data shows property values declined for a second month in June to be 4.7% below its peak in late 2007.

"The signs of pent-up demand being released subsequent to the Budget remain limited and we are beginning to question this expectation," said Philip Borkin, economist at Goldman Sachs JBWere.

"We do not envisage a sharp fall in house prices. Given the stickiness of the market, this would require a marked increase in distressed sales and we only place a small probability on this."

The median sale price rose to $352,500 in June from $350,000 in May, and was up 3.7% from the same month a year earlier.

REINZ president Peter McDonald said owners who successfully sold their properties were being "realistic in assessing the market value of their home" with the average gap between listing and selling prices at between 4% and 5%.

"What we have is a genuine rather than speculative market, with people seeking and buying homes to meet their own needs," McDonald said.

The association's housing price index, which was constructed with the help of the Reserve Bank to give a more accurate gauge of house prices, rose 0.6% to 3230.6 in June, and edged up 0.1% in the three months through June. It rose an annual 4.2%, and showed house prices are 4.5% below their November 2007 peak.

The Auckland median price rose to $470,000 from $455,000 in May, though the number of sales sank to 1,645 from 1,887 month-on-month.

The Wellington median sale price gained to $405,000 from $385,000, with sales down to 485 from 548 in May.

The median sale price in Christchurch increased to $340,000 from $277,500 in May, with sales falling to 473 from 492.

The Dunedin median price edged up to $243,000 from $241,250 in May, and sales dropped to 139 from 154.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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