City bucks trend of rising home prices

By Sandra Conchie

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House price values in Tauranga were last month down 0.2 per cent on the same time last year, according to the latest QV price index report.

Residential values jumped 5 per cent nationally over the previous market peak in late 2007 but Tauranga has bucked the trend.

QV research director Jonno Ingerson said nationwide values continued to climb strongly, increasing fastest in Auckland and to a lesser extent in Christchurch, driven by a lack of supply.

But the small amount of growth seen in Tauranga had faded, leaving values down 0.2 per cent on this time last year, he said.

QV valuer Paul Thomas said: "Although there is increased confidence, this hasn't translated to an increase in values.

"There is continued buyer inquiry from Aucklanders.

"However, few are actually turning into purchasers due to lack of employment opportunities."

The average property value in Tauranga last month was $428,583.

Values showed little signs of increasing as much as in other main cities, he said.

But Tauranga real estate agents remain optimistic about an improving housing market.

LJ Hooker franchise owner Neville Falconer said the latest QV property value index was consistent with what had been seen in the Tauranga for the past 18 months.

"Prices may not have moved notably in all that time but, when you look at the volumes of sales, there have been steady rises in the past few months, and definite movements in March with 163 sales and 136 in April.

While there are couple of real estate firms' sales figures still to come in, if you check the Real Estate Institute's website it shows there were 140 sales last month," he said.

Mr Falconer said that access to employment was a factor but it was only one element that drove the market.

Tauranga remained a popular place to come to live, particularly for retirees, and there was a good supply of "ready-to-go" sections for sale.

Harcourts Tauranga managing director Simon Martin said the latest QV index needed to be read with the Real Estate Institute's monthly sales report, due out shortly, to see the full picture.

Mr Martin said when it came to property values, Tauranga was "up against it" because of the huge demand and low supply in Auckland.

"Yes, there are not large movements in values, but Tauranga has always been reasonably flat compared to other parts of the country, and there are still lots of people from Auckland and other parts of the Bay keen to move here, either to retire or for a lifestyle change," he said.

"We have also noticed an increase in people wanting to get back into buying investment properties and first-home buyers over the past 18 months."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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