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The house price divide between regional and main urban centres continues to grow.
Latest Real Estate Institute sales figures for December 2012 reveal a new record national median price of $389,000 – 9.6% ahead of December 2011.
But a closer look at regional sales data shows small town prices remain flat or declining compared to the areas of greatest demand, Auckland and Christchurch.
Canterbury/Westland’s property boom continues, with median house price last month rising 1.7% compared to the previous month to a record $351,000.
This trend in Canterbury is likely to continue as the deadline for red-zoned residents to quit properties looms mid-year.
Auckland’s median house price eased by $5000 to $535,000 ilast month compared to November 2012, but well up on $484,375 in December 2011.
Smaller towns including Kaitia, Paihia, Thames, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, Hastings, Motueka and Invercargill saw price declines.
During the whole of 2012 there were 74,000 house sales recorded by the institute, a 21% increase on the 2011 year and the highest since 2007.
Institute chief executive Helen O’Sullivan says the total number of sales remains below the long-run average and below the peak volume of 2003, when more than 120,000 residential properties were sold.
A feature of the 2012 market was the increase in sales achieved at auctions, especially in Auckland, where almost two of every five sales are now by auction.
Nationally, there were 1102 dwellings sold by auction in December, representing 19.2% of all sales.