The country's largest real estate agency started the year with an 8% lift in sales compared to a year ago, although prices eased back from where they finished up at the end of last year, especially in Auckland.
Harcourts sold 1433 residential properties throughout the country in January, up 8% compared to January last year.
The average selling price was $554,021, up 6% compared to January last year but down 10.4% compared to December's average price of $618,459.
The increase in sales compared to a year ago was highest in the Central North Island (+16.7%) which includes the Waikato and Bay of Plenty markets, followed by Christchurch +15%, Wellington +12.1% and Auckland +8.4%.
The only area to record a decline in sales was the South Island (excluding Christchurch) were sales were down 5.2% compared to a year earlier.
Prices were softest in Auckland, where the January average was $935,773, down $71,607 (-7.1%) compared to to the December average of $1,007,380 and down 0.6% compared to January last year.
In the Central North Island (including Bay of Plenty and Waikato) the average price in January was down 9.2% compared to December but up 7% compared to January last year, in Wellington the average price was down 7.8% compared to December but up 7% compared to January last year, and in Christchurch the average price was down 4.2% compared to December but up 9% compared to January last year.
Inventory levels, the total number of properties an agency has for available sale, were up 3,3% overall compared to a year ago, but that was concentrated in the North Island, with inventory levels in Auckland up 9.9% and up 12.1% in Wellington while inventory levels were down in the South Island.
Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy said the 8% lift in sales compared to a year ago was an encouraging start to the year.
"I think that's a sign everybody is starting the year feeling pretty confident about where things are going," he said.