Monday, April 14, 2008

Caution slows house sales in Palmerston North, NZ

The issue of house prices is back in the news today. Under a Page 1 lead headline that reads "House sales slow, but prices steady", the Manawatu Standard reports that the Palmerston North residential real estate market is quieter than it has been for almost 10 years.

The paper quotes statistics from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, which show that there were 82 house sales in the city in March - the lowest number of sales in a month since June 1998, when there were 79. (In March last year, when the real estate market was booming, there were 193 house sales.)

Despite the present climate of uncertainty, prices have remained fairly stable. The Palmerston North median sale price for the three months to March 31 was $273,750, up slightly from $268,000 for the three months to February 29.

It is, however, taking longer to sell a house. The median number of days to sell a house in March was 52 days, compared with 22 days a year ago.

"People are waiting and seeing if things pick up. April has started better," says Property Brokers' urban sales manager Dan Cunningham.

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