Auckland's outer suburbs moving up

By Tony Verdon

Your guide to what's hot and what's not in Auckland and the regions. Tony Verdon reports

Otara is moving up at 7.7%.
Otara is moving up at 7.7%.

The full-on strength of most central Auckland residential housing markets has continued to push further outwards to the north, south and western suburbs during the last six months.

Median sale prices in the area covered by the old North Shore, Waitakere, and Manukau cities continued to surge, with price increases continuing and, in some cases, accelerating a trend evident during the last two years.

The Reserve Bank is doing its best to ensure this surge does not continue. Its restrictions preventing trading banks lending to low-deposit purchasers are likely to have some impact on these prices.

Even so, property experts think high demand and the shortage of housing will mean prices of quality residential properties in Auckland will maintain their elevated levels well into next year, although they are less sure about values at the bottom end of the market.

Once the Reserve Bank begins raising the official cash rate, probably in March or April, then price increases are likely to moderate.

The chief executive of the Real Estate Institute, Helen O'Sullivan, says agents around the country had reported heightened uncertainty for both purchasers and vendors about the impact of the restrictions introduced on October 1.

"Typically in the real estate market, sales volumes change more quickly than prices and overall sales volumes are lower than what we would expect for this time of the year," she says.

Her comments were reinforced by the results of a BNZ-REINZ residential market survey of 250 real estate agents, 78 per cent of whom reported seeing fewer first home buyers in October compared with September.

The Quotable Value tables in this edition of Property Report reveal that Auckland regional median prices surged 14.5 per cent during the three months to the end of October. That put regional median prices almost 24 per cent above their peak six years ago. While there is a huge variation in increases, and some declines, in suburbs within the Greater Auckland area, prices here maintained and even increased their lead over those in regional areas.

Where central areas have registered significant declines, the explanation is the inclusion of apartments in the figures earlier this year, which gives a more accurate picture of property values in each area, but which invariably dragged down the median prices where there is a high concentration of apartments.

Among the 10 fastest-rising median price suburbs within Greater Auckland, seven were in the outer suburbs, with Otara in the south recording a 7.7 per cent increase over three months. That suburb recorded an almost 20 per cent increase in the E-Valuer estimate of average value during the year to the end of October. The median price of properties sold in Otara increased by almost 27 per cent during the three years to the end of October.

Among the western suburbs of Greater Auckland Swanson, Te Atatu South and the Te Atatu Peninsula all recorded E-Valuer average increases of between 6 and 7 per cent.

The latest figures reveal that median prices increased by more than 20 per cent in Swanson during the three years to the end of October. Property owners in Te Atatu South have experienced a 34.4 per cent increase in median values during that time, while on the Te Atatu Peninsula, median prices increased by almost 34 per cent.

A top-performing suburb on the North Shore is Totara Vale, where the E-Valuer price has increased by 34.5 per cent in the two years to the end of September. In the south of the city, Clendon Park's E-Valuer price increased by just over 25 per cent in that time.

So the ripple effect of strong central city prices has continued to spread, leading to some real estate agents in the regions looking enviously towards colleagues working in Auckland's outer suburbs.

The only central city suburbs recording 6 per cent growth in median values during the three months to the end of October were Morningside, Greenlane and Grafton.

Four of the quarterly sliders during the three months were inner city suburbs which have enjoyed phenomenal growth figures in the last three years, and the falls were so miniscule that it would be wrong to draw any firm conclusion that prices have peaked.

Among the sliders was Ponsonby, where in the three months to the end of October the E-Valuer price fell by 1.3 per cent. But that needs to be read in the context of a suburb where median prices increased by almost 40 per cent during the last three years to the end of October.

Ponsonby remains among Auckland's top 10 suburbs in terms of median value. The median value of properties sold in Ponsonby during the three months was $1,191,350. The median price in neighbouring Westmere fell a fraction during the three months, but it remains in the top 10 with a median price of $1,256,700.

Values in Herne Bay retained top spot by increasing 3.5 per cent during the quarter. The median price in Herne Bay was $1,773,400. St Mary's Bay remains in the second place, with a 2.2 per cent increase to $1,532,350, followed by Remuera at $1,324,450, an increase of 5.6 per cent during the quarter.

The North Shore's Stanley Pt sits in fourth position at $1,259,850 (up 0.8 per cent) followed by Epsom at $1,256,700 (up 4.9 per cent). The North Shore's Castor Bay joined the $1 million club during the quarter, with an E-Valuer estimate of the average value at $1,002,250.

- NZ Herald

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