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New Zealand house prices hit record high amid COVID-19 lockdown

14 Sep 2021

WELLINGTON, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Median prices for residential property across New Zealand increased by 25.5 percent from 677,400 NZ dollars in August 2020 to a record 850,000 NZ dollars in August 2021 amid COVID-19 lockdown, as shortage of houses available for sale continued, according to the latest real estate data on Tuesday.

Four out of 16 regions reached new record median prices and 25 districts reached new record median highs, showed data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

The median house price for New Zealand excluding Auckland increased by 22.8 percent from 570,000 NZ dollars in August last year to a new record of 700,000 NZ dollars in August 2021.

Jen Baird, chief executive at REINZ said in a statement: "House prices have once again risen across the country, with every region seeing a year-on-year increase from August 2020. This latest lockdown has not dampened demand for, or confidence in, the housing market as we saw in early 2020. We have heard from across the industry that prices achieved on sales completed in the early part of this lockdown continue to illustrate an ongoing excess of demand over supply; prices are still rising."

New Zealand's house prices hit new record highs in the last several months in a row despite the pandemic, while record low interest rates boosted demand for housing and credit. As the housing demand kept high, the supply touched low. In some regions, inventory levels were at lowest point ever.

The total number of properties available for sale in New Zealand decreased year-on-year by 31.9 percent in August to 12,249, down from 17,974 in August 2020.

"The record low levels of inventory were not a surprise this month. Although we normally experience a lift in listings in Spring, this has been delayed by lockdown as vendors are generally opting to prepare their properties now to launch at a lower alert level. This delay in new listings, coming off the back of record low levels of inventory in July, has meant a lower August than we anticipated," said Baird. (1 U.S. dollar equals 1.42 New Zealand dollars)

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