Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Fear of job cuts takes toll on city's home prices

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

House prices in Auckland are rapidly rising, but worries over civil service layoffs are being blamed for holding Wellington prices back.

QV.co.nz research director Jonno Ingerson said Wellington house values had risen only 1.4 per cent in the past year, less than any other main centre, to reach a three-month average of $511,000.

House values in many provincial areas are also suffering - QV figures showed prices down in Kaipara, Taupo, Rotorua, Gisborne and Ruapehu.

QV issued three-monthly figures yesterday which showed Wellington values were flat or had dropped.

Annual house property growth for Auckland was 6.8 per cent and the average sale price was $627,411, the QV figures showed.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute this week also showed values well up in Auckland and Christchurch but showed provincial centres were not seeing such big rises.

Houses in the Central Otago Lakes area, which includes Queenstown, took longer to sell than anywhere else, an average 81 days compared with 31 in Canterbury/Westland, REINZ said.

Mr Ingerson said activity in some provincial areas was slow.

"There is more variability in the provincial centres and smaller towns as values in those areas respond to local economic influences."

Values in all main centres had increased in the past year but Wellington was the only centre where values had not gone up in the past three months, Mr Ingerson said.

QV valuer Tim Gibson said Dunedin values were also variable.

"The winter slowdown has started taking effect, with few inquiries coming in and agents reporting a lack of good listings," he said.

"Properties that aren't well presented are tending to hang around. Low value properties were the only ones performing well in the market," Mr Gibson said.

REINZ said June the number of sales fell 8.5 per cent in Manawatu/Wanganui compared with last June and were down 6.2 per cent in Waikato/Bay of Plenty.

REINZ recorded a record national median price of $372,000 in June, up $2000 on May, with sales up 17.3 per cent annually and nearly all regions selling more than in June last year.

Sales rose 56 per cent in Canterbury/Westland and 15.7 per cent in Auckland, REINZ said.

Values were increasing the fastest in Auckland City, up 6.8 per cent in the past year, followed by 5.6 per cent in the North Shore and Manukau.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said REINZ data showed Christchurch prices were up 9 per cent in a year, while in the rest of the South Island prices were up 5 per cent.

"But the latest monthly price movement showed more strength outside of Auckland and Christchurch. Averaged across New Zealand, prices are 5 per cent higher than a year ago."

- NZ Herald

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