New Zealand house sales declined for a 12th month in October, one year on from the introduction of Reserve Bank high-debt mortgage lending restrictions.
The number of houses sold fell 2.4 per cent to 6,608 in October from the same month a year earlier, the Real Estate Institute said in a statement.
Sales rose 11.8 per cent from September when activity slowed amid uncertainty in the lead-up to that month’s general election.
The Reserve Bank introduced restrictions on low-equity mortgage lending from October last year in an attempt to cool the housing market which is being driven by a shortage of housing in Auckland and earthquake-devastated Christchurch.
Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler said on Wednesday he wouldn’t ease the restrictions until he was satisfied house price inflation had cooled amid pressure from strong migration.
“It has been 12 months since the Reserve Bank introduced its LVR restrictions on borrowers. Over the past 12 months the volume of sales has trended down, and still continues to fall,” REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said.
“The increasing divergence between the two largest metropolitan areas, Auckland and Christchurch, and the rest of the country remains in place.”
The median price rose 5.4 per cent to $430,000 in October from the year earlier month, and was up 2.4 per cent from September, the institute said.
Some 76 per cent of the increase in the national median price compared to October last year occurred in the Auckland, with 15 per cent of the gain coming from the Canterbury/Westland region, the agency said.
In Auckland, the volume of sales fell 8.4 per cent to 2,457 in October from the some month a year earlier, with the median house price up 10.1 per cent to $640,500 over the year.
Christchurch sales rose 1.2 per cent to 573 in October from a year earlier, with the median sale price up 8.7 per cent to $430,000.