New Zealand residential property prices continue upward trend

Property prices in New Zealand continue to edge upwards, shows index

Residential property prices in New Zealand continued to edge upwards in February, according to the latest QV index.

Values are now up 1.1% over the past three months, 2.9% up over the past year, and are 2.9% below the previous market peak of late 2007.

QV research director, Jonno Ingerson, pointed out that there is still a shortage of properties for sale in some areas, and in general buyers are acting cautiously and carefully.

The Auckland area remains the fastest growing of the main centres, up 1.7% over the past three months and 4.8% up over the past year. Values are now above the previous market peak by 2.3%. This increase across Auckland is being led by the old Auckland City which has increased in value by 6.5% over the past year and is 5.1% above the 2007 market peak.

‘There appears to be strong demand in the central areas of old Auckland City such as Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Sandringham. Healthy sales prices are being achieved, with good properties coming to the market. Some buyers are staying cautious and sticking to their upper limit whereas others seem to have few financial constraints and as a result auction prices are setting new levels,’ said QV valuer Glenda Whitehead.

‘Buyers in the North Shore are being driven by location, as opposed to price, with activity patchy. Some suburbs are experiencing good turnover of properties whilst others are quite stagnant. The number of private sales is also noticeable,’ she explained.

Values in Hamilton remain relatively stable, rising 0.9% over the past year, but are currently 11.1% below the 2007 peak.

‘The number of sales appears to be the highest for five years, with homes in the mid to upper bracket appearing to be selling well especially. This renewed interest however, is not stimulating prices with values remaining consistently static,’ said QV valuer Richard Allen.

Tauranga values have also remained relatively static, up 1% over the past year but remaining 11.3% below the 2007 peak.

‘Many homes, particularly in the better regarded suburbs, are slightly overpriced in this market. Buyers are still looking to pay a sharp price, which is reflected in the fact that realistically priced well presented homes in the low to mid value range are selling at a good rate,’ explained QV valuer Shayne Donovan-Grammer.

In Wellington values are the same as they were a year ago, having dropped 2% for the first six months, then steadily increasing for the last six months.

‘Across Wellington, prices seem to be firming and more listings are coming to the market. Buyers are still being cautious, especially with the public sector restructuring and its effect on job security in the region,’ said QV valuer Pieter Geill.

Apart from Auckland City values in Christchurch have grown faster over the past year than any of the other main centres, rising 4% and are now level with the 2007 market peak.Waimakariri District has increased 12% over the past year and Selwyn District 10.8%. Both areas are by far the fastest increasing parts of the country. They are also the highest about the 2007 market peak at 6.5% and 5.9% respectively.

‘Rents continue to rise with high demand placed on rental properties from people whose homes were uninhabitable due to earthquake damage, people who need to relocate whilst they carry out repairs, or from those who are moving to the city to help with the rebuild. This is making property investors look at what potential some properties now have,’ said QV valuer Richard Kolff.

Dunedin values are 2.3% above the same time last year, although the growth of 4% over the past six months is even faster than Auckland City.

‘The lower end of the market is still seeing reasonable demand with purchasers now prepared to take on more risk with lower priced houses. This is in contrast to six months ago when most of the demand was for well presented dwellings with no deferred maintenance issues,’ said QV valuer Tim Gibson.

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