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Buyers market' crimps house sales

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  • Buyers market' crimps house sales

    Buyers market' crimps house sales

    By GARETH VAUGHAN - BusinessDay Last updated 16:46 09/07/2009
    The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand says fewer houses were sold in June than May but the average price rose slightly.
    REINZ said today 6040 houses were sold nationwide in June compared to 6291 in May. The average sale price rose to $340,000 - in line with June 2008 - and up from May's $337,000.
    The median time taken to sell fell to 41 days in June this year from 53 days in June 2008.
    REINZ president Mike Elford said the main reason sales were down in June from May was because of a shortage of stock on the market.
    "The overall faster time to sell shows that buyers are out there, and the prices being paid show the money is there. But there's still a reluctance on many people's part to put their home on the market in what they perceive as a buyer's market," said Elford.
    ASB economist Jane Turner said adjusted for seasonality, house sales recovered 9 percent during June. The median number of days to sell fell to 39.6 days, seasonally adjusted, and was now near average levels.
    However, Turner said Quotable Value statistics for June showed house prices down 7.1 percent year-on-year, which was ASB's preferred measure of median prices.
    "Demand, although improved, will continue to remain subdued as the employment outlook continues to deteriorate and some households remain cautious about large purchases," said Turner.
    Nonetheless, low interest rates and the recent turnaround in net migration would support housing demand.
    The 6040 monthly sales in June is well down on the 9000 monthly sales recorded during the boom times earlier this decade but is well up on the 4400 monthly sales levels recorded during the second half of last year.
    TD Securities senior strategist Annette Beacher noted house price inflation was now officially zero, after 14 consecutive months of house price deflation. However, the median price of $340,000 remains well short of the September 2007 record high of $353,000.
    Sales of properties in the $1 million plus category fell to 161 in June from 180 in May.
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx