RTTNews - Median prices of houses in New Zealand decreased in May, but the number of homes sold increased, a report by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand or REINZ said Thursday.

The median price of homes dropped slightly to NZ$337,500 in May from NZ$340,000 in April and was down 2.17% from the previous year.

At the same time, the number of houses sold rose slightly to 6,291 from 6,210 in April and was also higher than 4,372 homes sold in May last year.

During the month, property prices declined in most regions with the exception of Auckland and Waikato, where they rose 55% and 64% respectively.

Mike Elford, president of the REINZ said the latest data indicates that there was some signs of stability in the property market. The sales figure showed that people were willing to pay market prices for properties, and the rise in the number of properties sold in the upper end of the market indicating a level of confidence, Elford said.

However, the biggest issue facing the property market was with regard to shortage of stocks. With an apparent reluctance to sell in what is perceived to be a buyers' market, people are tending to hunker down and sit tight on their properties. This, combined with a seasonal trend for people to hibernate rather than put their home on the market in the winter months, has led to an acute shortage of houses on the market, Elford said. Moreover, the president expects this trend to continue through June and July.

Meanwhile, the length of time taken to sell a house was 42 days in May, unchanged from April, but down from 49 days in May last year.

The May figures are very much a sign of the times and the season. Like everyone else, the real estate industry looks forward to spring, Elford added.

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