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Marlborough house prices reach record high on back of Sounds lifestyle sales

interest_rates_3.jpgHouse prices in Marlborough have rocketed to a record high off the back of a number of premium sales in Blenheim and the Marlborough Sounds.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show the median house price in Marlborough shot up to $417,000 for November, more than $80,000 higher than the same time last year.

Mark Stevenson First National Real Estate co-owner Mark Stevenson said the spike in prices was down to 17 properties, including seven in the Marlborough Sounds, selling for more than $600,000 each.

House prices were still increasing in the region, with Stevenson estimating an average rise of 16 per cent over the past 12 months, but there was only so much room for them to increase further, he said.

"I think the residential market in Marlborough has approached a bit of a peak, there will be the odd surprising result but that just comes down to supply and demand," he said.

Stevenson said a further increase of between 4 and 6 per cent was possible over the next 12 months, but anything more than that would be surprising given the low wages in the region.

The prospect of the Reserve Bank raising interest rates next year might also put a dampener on demand, which he described as very strong in Marlborough.

The median number of days to sell had more than halved in the past two years, from 77 days in November 2014 to 54 days in November last year to 35 days last month.

"Anybody who's got a house to sell in Marlborough, providing it's well presented, there will always be more than one prospective buyer and strong competition, which is why the median days to sell has halved," Stevenson said.

Having such a large number of properties sell for more than $600,000 in one month was slightly unusual, but between now and March was the period buyers typically bought baches in the Marlborough Sounds, he said.

"They're still incredibly affordable when you look at the price of a two-bedroom house in Auckland selling for around $1 million, you can come down here and buy a house with road access and a water front for about the same."

Harcourts Marlborough owner Chris Greenhill said a shortage of stock combined with high demand was resulting in multi-offers, something which was pushing up house prices in the region.

In November, Harcourts sold a house at Colemans Rd for $915,000, a price Greenhill said they would not have got a year ago.

"The only reason it went for that much is it went to a multi-offer and the competition pushed the price up," she said.

Bayleys Marlborough general manager David Lee agreed with Greenhill that there was still an imbalance between supply and demand, saying sales above $600,000 were becoming more regular as a result.

Five out of six properties auctioned by Bayleys two weeks ago sold, with the most expensive going for $1,275,000, Lee said.

"Auctions are the most transparent way to sell, so we definitely encourage people, if they really want to find out what the market will pay, to go to auction."
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