Number of New Zealand Properties Sold Fell Sharply in September

By Ben Collins Features Dow Jones Newswires

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--The number of New Zealand properties sold fell sharply in September from a year earlier.

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The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, or REINZ, said the national median house price rose 1.2% on year in September to NZ$525,000, but the number of properties sold fell 26.2%. This comes after the number of properties sold in August also fell sharply on year.

REINZ said the national median house price was 0.9% lower in September from August, while the number of properties sold decreased 9.3% on month.

The number of days it took to sell a house, a gauge of underlying demand, increased. The median number of days to sell was 34, three days longer than a year ago.

Still, the REINZ Monthly Housing Index, which uses all sales by REINZ members rather than just a median price, was up 0.7% on month and also up 2.1% from September last year.

REINZ said wet weather and uncertainty over New Zealand's recent general election had a significant impact on the number of properties sold across the country, which were at the their lowest level in six years for the month of September.

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New Zealanders voted in a general election on Sept. 23, though the poll didn't provide a clear result with the incumbent centre-right National party winning the most seats but coming short of an outright majority in the 120-seat parliament.

Both National and the resurgent centre-left Labour party are negotiating with the populist New Zealand First, a minor party whose leader can decide which of them form a new government.

National could form two-party coalition, while Labour could form a three-way bloc with the help of New Zealand First and the Green party.

Both New Zealand First and Labour have said they want to cut the number of people moving to New Zealand, and place limits on foreign ownership of property.

The housing market is one of the major challenges analysts see for New Zealand's economy, especially in Auckland, the commercial capital, where chronic undersupply and high demand, fueled in part by high migration both from overseas and the country's regions, have pushed prices to record levels.

Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 16:23 ET (20:23 GMT)