Auckland house prices rose to a record in an unseasonably busy September as buyers sought properties ahead of new regulations aimed at cooling the market, according to the city's largest realtor.

The average sale price increased 1.9 per cent to $836,275 in September from a month earlier for an annual rise of 13 per cent, and the median sales price advanced 4.6 per cent to $790,000 for a 24 per cent yearly increase, Barfoot & Thompson said in a statement.

Monthly sales rose 3.3 per cent to 1,358, and were 42 per cent higher than September 2014.

Nearly a third of homes sold carried a price tag of $1 million or more, a record for Barfoot.

Homes for $500,000 or under made up 12 per cent of sales, it said.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has singled out Auckland property prices as a key risk to New Zealand’s financial stability, while at the same time cutting its benchmark interest rates in June, July and September.

To combat lower rates, the central bank will introduce new bank lending restrictions from November 1, after tax changes to cool investor activity came into effect at the start of this month.

Barfoot attributed the increase in sales activity to the incoming regulation.

“In part the price surge may be down to buyers getting in ahead of the new regulations around equity ratios for investors, which came into force in October, but without doubt an element of the traditional lift that comes with spring was there,” Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson said.

“New regulations for international buyers are due to come into force in November and these have coincided with a tightening of requirements around the export of money out of China.”


By Suze Metherell