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Property market holds strong in Canterbury amid national slowdown

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Canterbury's median house price increased 20.8% in the last year to $684,000.
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JOHN BISSET/Stuff

Canterbury’s median house price increased 20.8% in the last year to $684,000.

Canterbury property prices are holding strong despite a continued slowing in the national market, new data shows.

On top of last month’s drop, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures for April show a further slowdown in sales activity compared to the same period last year, along with moderate price growth and properties staying on the market for longer.

However, tighter lending criteria, higher interest ratesand rising inflation continue to create challenges for many buyers – particularly first home buyers and investors, Real Estate Institute chief executive Jen Baird said.

Those already on the property ladder, who have equity and are less restricted by the tightened lending criteria are the “most dominant buyer segment”.

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“With more stock on the market for longer periods of time… [some buyers] are able to take their time and find the right property for them,” Baird said.

While house sales21 this decreased 32.1% – from 11 in April 2021 to 761 April – prices in Canterbury have been holding strong.

The region’s median house price in April was $684,000 – a 20.8% increase compared to April last year.

Sellers were having to adjust their expectations, though, as supplying outweighed demand, and buyers were becoming more selective as market sentiment shifted.

Median house price changes in April this year compared to April 2021.

REINZ

Median house price changes in April this year compared to April 2021.

“Buyers are no longer willing to pay the prices achieved throughout last year. A fear of overpaying has grown amongst buyers, and the fear of missing out is no more,” Baird said.

The number of attendees at open homes was also down last month, partly due to the school and public holidays.

“Agents in Canterbury say activity for properties in the mid-to-lower price range are softening, but higher-end properties remain competitive with good results,” Baird said, adding that could be in part owner because-occupiers were dominating the overall buyer pool.

The most expensive house sold in Canterbury last month was a property in Merivale that went for $3.26 million.

Across New Zealand, the number of residential property sales was down 35.2% in April (4860) compared to April 2021 (7497).

“Lending restrictions, rising interest rates, and shortage of labor and materials are having a major impact on all parts of the transaction,” Baird said.

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