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(Updates with economist comment in third paragraph.)
Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s house prices rose to a 22-month high in September as a shortage of new listings created a supply crunch, economists said.
Prices rose 1.7 percent from August to the highest since November 2009, the Real Estate Institute said in an e-mailed statement, citing an index. The time to sell a property fell, while the number of sales was little changed at 5,235 from 5,192 in August, the Auckland-based institute said.
“With the length of time to sell continuing to fall and prices remaining supported, it suggests to us that the tight inventory situation is still a key driver of current market trends,” said Philip Borkin, an economist at Goldman Sachs & Partners New Zealand Ltd. in Auckland. “We see this lack of listings as consistent with ongoing household caution more generally.”
Fewer properties are being offered for sale amid a slow economic recovery, with consumers preferring to save and reduce debt rather than spend. Central bank Governor Alan Bollard has kept interest rates at a record-low since March to bolster demand. He may not raise borrowing costs until next year, according to 12 of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
House prices rose 2.7 percent from September last year, while sales increased 21 percent, the institute said. The time to complete the median house sale fell to 37 days in September from 39 in August.
Quotable Value New Zealand, the government-owned valuation agency, today said its measure of house prices rose 0.7 percent in September from a year earlier. Prices in Auckland, home to a quarter of the nation’s 4.4 million people, rose 3.4 percent, it said.
--Editors: Garfield Reynolds, Benjamin Purvis
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