New Zealand House Prices Rise Annual 7.2% in January, REINZ Says

New Zealand house prices rose 7.2 percent in January from a year earlier, led by demand in Auckland, the nation’s biggest city.

Prices accelerated from 6.7 percent in the year through December, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said in an e-mailed statement. Auckland values jumped 11.8 percent from January last year.

Central bank Governor Graeme Wheeler said Jan. 31 he is closely watching house price inflation, adding he doesn’t want to see financial stability or inflation risks accentuated by housing demand getting too far ahead of supply. His comments led to increased bets that he will raise interest rates from a record-low 2.5 percent later this year.

“Agents across the country are reporting continuing shortages of listings and positive buyer inquiry, even taking into account the normal slowdown” in the summer vacation period, Helen O’Sullivan, chief executive of the Auckland-based institute said in the statement.

There were 4,933 house sales in January, a 21 percent increase from a year ago. The median time it took to sell a home fell to 41 days from 47 days in January 2012.

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