New Zealand house sales rose at the slowest annual pace since April last year as a shortage of new listings stoked prices, according to the Real Estate Institute. Sales in September increased 8 per cent from a year earlier to 5,653, half the pace of the gain in August, the institute said. Prices rose 0.6 per cent from August and 5 per cent from a year earlier to a record, the Auckland-based institute said, citing an index. Sales fell from August, whereas usually they increased at the start of the southern hemisphere spring when owners preferred to sell homes, the institute said. Rising house prices will be watched by the central bank after new Reserve Bank of New Zealand governor Graeme Wheeler agreed to monitor asset prices as part of his agreement with the government signed on September 20. "The traditional rush of spring listings has not eventuated this year and the market is tightening as buyers face a limited choice," said institute CEO Helen O'Sullivan. "This has been reflected by increases in the median price across much of the country."