(Updates with house sales in second paragraph.)
Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- New Zealand house prices rose at the fastest annual pace in 17 months in January and property sales increased, led by demand in Auckland, the nation’s largest city.
Prices increased 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the fastest pace since August 2010, according to an e-mailed report from Quotable Value New Zealand, the government-owned valuation agency. House sales in January rose 25 percent from a year earlier, the Real Estate Institute said in a separate report.
In Auckland, home to a quarter of New Zealand’s 4.4 million people, prices have gained 5 percent from the year-earlier month to a record. Prices in smaller provincial cities have started to decline, the agency said.
“The increase in values in many areas, particularly central Auckland, can in part be attributed to a lack of supply,” said Jonno Ingerson, research director at Quotable Value. “When quality properties come up for sale in these areas, they are in high demand, which is tending to push the price up.”
Values have gained 1.1 percent in the three months through January, the agency said. It doesn’t publish a monthly price measure.
House sales were the highest for a January since 2008, the Real Estate Institute said in its e-mailed report. Sales fell from December reflecting public holidays and fewer transactions during the summer vacation period, it said.
“A shortage of listings is still apparent in many areas,” said Helen O’Sullivan, chief executive officer of the institute. “Prices remain stable despite the supply pressure, which probably reflects the reluctance of buyers to over-extend themselves while economic uncertainty continues.”
Prices fell 1.4 percent from December, according to the institute’s monthly index. Prices rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier.
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