National house sales were up 20% in December 2011 on the year earlier, the best December sales figures since 2007.
Figures from the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) revealed there were 5,316 unconditional sales in December, up 919 sales or 20.1% on December 2010.
The national median house price fell however, down by $12,000 to $335,000 compared to November but just $3,000 lower than December 2010.
"December was the strongest month for real estate sales in New Zealand, with this being the strongest level of transaction figures in December since 2007, and Auckland having its strongest December since 2006," REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said.
"Across the country sales volume is up by over 20% compared to December last year with some regions such as Manawatu/Wanganui and Taranaki reporting increases of more than 40%."
All regions, apart from Central Otago Lakes, recorded a decline in sales volumes compared to November. However, on a seasonally adjusted basis the national total was up 5.6% and all but one region recorded an increase in sales volumes.
Auckland recorded its strongest December sales volumes since 2006, with six regions, recording their strongest December sales since 2007. Those six regions were: Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Wanganui, Taranaki, Nelson/Marlborough, Canterbury/Westland and Otago.
Only two regions - Hawkes Bay and Wellington - saw lower sales volumes than December 2010.
For December Central Otago Lakes saw the highest lift in prices (7.4%), followed by Taranaki (4.6%) and Wellington (1%). Compared to December 2010, Central Otago Lakes also recorded the highest lift in prices (8.7%), followed by Canterbury/Westland (6.6%) and Auckland (6.5%).
"While the number of transactions is rising, prices have eased back from last month's record highs, with some exceptions in parts of Auckland and the Canterbury/Westland region," said O'Sullivan.
The national median days to sell remained steady at 35 days in December, and is a four day improvement on the 39 days recorded in December 2010. Over the past five years the median days to sell has averaged 41 days across New Zealand.