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Covid-19 lockdowns had 'little impact' on NZ house prices as August's median prices soar

A number of regions and cities across New Zealand have posted record median house prices for August, with both the first nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and the second one in Auckland "having little impact". 

Aerial view of houses in Devonport, Auckland Source: istock.com

That’s according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand which found eight regions and 17 cities across New Zealand have posted record highs for the month, including Auckland.

The median house price in Auckland has increased by 16 per cent to $950,000 which REINZ says is a new record high, up from $819,000 at the same time last year.

Other regions experiencing record highs include Northland with a 16.6 per cent increase to $590,000, Waikato with a 16.7 per cent increase to $628,000 and Canterbury with a 13 per cent increase to $497,000.

Bindi Norwell, chief executive at REINZ, says they’ve been hearing reports from around the country of vendors achieving good prices for the sale of their homes - but the record median prices were a surprise.

“We would never have guessed that eight regions and 17 districts/cities across the country would see record median prices just four months after the entire country was in lockdown,” says Ms Norwell.

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“The housing market’s recovery post-lockdown over the last few months has been astonishing and has certainly surpassed many predictions.”

August also saw record median prices in a number of cities/districts, including the Rotorua District at $510,000, Lower Hutt City at $670,000, and the Papakura District at $775,000.

Ms Norwell says the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland from August 12-30 "had little impact on sales volumes", with last month seeing the highest number of properties sold in an August month for five years.

“It will be interesting to see what happens now that we’re heading into spring, as traditionally sales volumes start to lift as the weather warms up. As we’ve already seen, 2020 seems to be defying all predictions and going against all norms at this point in time.

"However, the full impact of Covid-19 may not have been realised yet, particularly in relation to unemployment and the economy,” she continues.

Median house prices across New Zealand increased by 16.4 per cent in August to $675,000, up from $580,000 in August 2019 and up from $659,000 in July.