Tauranga house prices edge higher


Tauranga property values continue to fluctuate, with the current average still 10.7 per cent below the market's 2007 peak.

Although values edged 0.2 per cent higher over the past three months, at $428,943, the average value is 0.5 per cent down on the same time last year, new Quotable Value figures show.

Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said the figures reflected an increase in people buying cheaper homes.

"We are seeing more actually in the lower end of the market, which is why the median prices are down," Mr Martin said.

"We don't feel values have come back, it's just the fact there's been more interest in cheaper homes being purchased rather than expensive ones."

Western Bay property values rose slightly year-on-year to $391,661 but remain 14 per cent below the 2007 market peak.

QV Tauranga spokesman Paul Thomas said the local property market had not picked up to the extent he had expected.

"A couple of months ago, I thought things were going to pick up again and start to go in an upwards direction, [however] it's continued to plateau.

"Over the last few years, it really hasn't moved much at all here in Tauranga and in the Western Bay."

More Aucklanders would have to move to Tauranga for any significant change in property values, Mr Thomas said.

The local market still had not recovered from 2007, when "the market was booming and everyone was getting on board".

"That was when everything was guns a-blazing and lots of people were moving into the area."

More first home buyers were entering the market and choosing to purchase instead of rent, Mr Thomas said.

"This is despite a lack of supply caused by vendors who are happy to stay put at this time of the year.

"That will change as interest rates go up again, which is likely to happen fairly soon."

Nationwide, house values increased further in June to set a new average high of $441,254, which was 6.2 per cent above the 2007 market peak.

The national average value has increased 7.6 per cent over the past year, climbing 2.8 per cent over the past three months alone.

QV operations manager Kerry Stewart said although nationwide values continued to increase, they had done so only about half as quickly as they did in the years leading up to the 2007 market peak.

The strong increase in the national average was largely credited to the Auckland and Canterbury markets, as gains across the rest of the country remained subdued.

"There is little sign that values will slow in Auckland in the immediate future. The number of properties for sale is continuing to drop while demand remains strong. Christchurch is also suffering from a shortage of stock, leading to upward pressure on prices."

Most of the other main centres also recorded gains but at much slower rates.

Value increases would remain modest in areas with no shortage of properties.

QV valuer Richard Allen said there appeared to be no seasonal slowdown in activity as winter took hold.

"We expect the steady increase in values to continue, with the market quite even in relation to supply and demand."

Some provincial centres had seen increases in value. The trend was seen in areas such as Gisborne, where values increased by 2 per cent over the past three months, and in Whangerei, where values rose 2.5 per cent.

Declines were seen in Taupo, Bay of Plenty and Rotorua, and in and around Gore and Invercargill in the South Island.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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