House prices soar nationwide as sales rise to 14-year high

Residential property has been selling at a rapid pace, driving prices up by nearly a quarter.

By Nona Pelletier of

Real estate agent showing a young couple a new house. Source:

The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) house price index rose 24 per cent year on year to 3756 in March, with a national median house price of $826,300, compared with $665,000 last year.

Twelve of the 16 regions hit record median prices, as well as 32 districts.

Auckland's median house price increased by 18.5 per cent to more than $1.1 million, with Northland leading the pack with a near 27 per cent increase to $710,000.

The number of residential properties sold last month rose to a 14-year high of 9721, which was 31 per cent up on the same time last year and driven by a scramble for Auckland properties, which rose 50 per cent.

Institute acting chief executive Wendy Alexander said March's result was much higher than many commentators would have expected, given the first tranche of fresh loan to value bank lending restrictions (LVRs) were back in effect, with investors requiring a 30 per cent deposit and owner-occupiers requiring a 20 per cent deposit.

"Therefore, we would have expected sales volumes to slow a little as buyers took this into account, however, it might just be that we need a few more months for this to really start to take effect."

Alexander said the West Coast was a standout region with five consecutive months of sales growth of more than of 40 per cent.

"The last two months alone have seen an 80 per cent increase and this month it's been a 120 per cent increase showing how strong interest levels are in the region right now.

"Given how affordable the region is, we would expect sales volumes to continue at a strong pace for a few more months yet."