Jen Baird

PHOTO: Real Estate Institute chief executive Jen Baird

House sales nationwide fell to near record lows for an April last month, as market activity slowed in response to the challenging economic climate, the Real Estate Institute says.

There were just 4262 sales nationwide last month, down 15.3% on the 4860 sales in the same month last year, the institute’s latest figures showed.

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Excluding the lockdown-affected April in 2020, it was the lowest sales count for an April since the institute’s records began in the early 1990s. Sales also fell nationwide by 28.8% from March.

But Real Estate Institute chief executive Jen Baird said that in seasonally adjusted terms last month was 11.4% stronger when compared to the usual seasonal change at this time of year.

“April tends to be slow due to public and school holidays, and it is clear those factors combined with a tight economy are still influencing the market.”

Wellington, Manawatu/Whanganui, Nelson, and Taranaki had the lowest sales counts for an April month since records began, excluding lockdown periods.


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New Zealanders were waiting for the peak of inflation, a settling in interest rates and some clarity around the outcome of this year’s election, Baird said.

“This is what is keeping activity low, but salespeople are reporting glimpses of green shoots as first-home buyers show more interest after the Reserve Bank’s announcement on the easing of LVR restrictions.”

Sellers that came with a desire to meet the market, who were prepared to negotiate and be realistic, were the ones selling, because there were buyers ready to buy, she said.

House prices declined further on an annual basis, with the national median down 10.9% to $780,000 in April, from $875,000 at the same time last year.

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The institute’s House Price Index, which measures the changing value of residential property nationwide, showed an annual decrease of 12%. It was now down 17.5% from its market peak in November 2021.

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