The number of properties sold nationwide for more than a million dollars decreased by 4% during the first half of 2017, compared to a year ago, according to the latest report from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

In Auckland, despite more than 50 $5 million plus sales for the first time, the number of million-dollar properties sold fell by 8%. However, for the rest of New Zealand (excluding Auckland), the number of million-dollar plus property sales increased by 16%.

“Even at the top end of the market we’re starting to see signs of stabilisation occurring – in part due to LVRs continuing to have a greater impact on people’s ability to purchase property,” said Bindi Norwell, REINZ chief executive.

“But also due to the fact buyers will be starting to take into account interest rate predictions over the next 12-18 months as this will have a significant impact on how people structure their mortgages when purchasing these high-end properties.”

The first half of 2017 registered the lowest number of million-dollar plus properties sold in Auckland since the second half of 2014, which Norwell said is a clear nod to the stabilisation of property prices in New Zealand’s biggest city. “However, most regions saw the top end of the market grow highlighting the buoyancy we’re experiencing around the country,” he said.

REINZ said the regions with the highest number of million-dollar plus properties sold on record were Hawkes Bay, Nelson, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato and Wellington respectively – with Tasman and Taranaki only on their second time to experience double digit sales on million-dollar properties.

Otago listed the third highest number of properties for sale for more than a million dollars – the first time the region has been in the top three since 2011, while the Manawatu/Wanganui registered its first $5 million plus sale.

“With six regions across the country experiencing a record number of million-dollar plus sales, it will be interesting to see what impact the election has on the high end of the market as people tend to take more of a ‘wait and see’ approach during an election year,” Norwell said.