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Govt should act to lower house prices - poll

Published: 8:10PM Monday December 03, 2012 Source: ONE News

Almost two-thirds of voters believe the Government should step in to lower property prices, according to the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

Asking prices for properties hit a new record high last month as the stock of unsold homes on the market hit a five-year low, says industry website

The average asking price last month rose to $446,277 - breaking October's record high of $445,529 and up 6% on November last year.

While Prime Minister John Key insists the government is doing enough to help, the poll shows many New Zealanders believe MPs could do more to help those trying to get a foot on the property ladder.

The latest poll asked eligible voters: "Should the government be doing something to lower property prices in New Zealand?" Of those surveryed, 62% said yes, 33% said no and the rest were unsure.

According to the poll, younger voters are the most keen on the State stepping in to help, with 75% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 saying they want the Government to tackle high property prices.

The current National-led Government recently promised to free up more land for development and has set a six-month deadline for councils to deal with resource consents. It says speeding up the process will help lower property costs.

Labour says the poll result backs up its plan to spend $1.5 billion building 100,000 affordable homes over ten years.

There were 6640 residential properties sold in October, up 33% on a year ago, but listings in November - which totalled 13,571 - were only up 1.5% year on year.

Inventory - the number of weeks it would take to sell all unsold housing stock on the market - sunk to a seasonally adjusted 28.7 weeks.

That was a five-year low, a 29% fall on November last year and far below the long term average of 39 weeks.

Inventory in Auckland plunged to 15.5 weeks - the lowest level since the site began collecting data in 2007.

Low inventory levels meant sellers had the upper hand in the market - which would remain tight for the foreseeable future.

That did not deter buyers though, with plenty keen to enter the market, said marketing manager Paul McKenzie. ''This eagerness to buy is matched by the availability of attractive mortgage packages.''

While the seasonally adjusted national mean asking price rose 0.2% month on month to $446.277, the main centres all saw mean asking prices drop off in November.

The mean asking price in Auckland fell 2.5% to $596,759, Wellington fell 4.2% to $431,259 and Canterbury slipped 2% to $405,913.

Ten regions, including Nelson, Marlborough and Taranaki, reported an increase in asking prices, with five seeing increases about 5%.

Asking prices fell in nine regions, with three seeing falls greater than 5% - Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa.