A Chinese capital control crackdown is likely to have contributed to the cooling of Auckland's housing market, Quotable Value says.
The latest figures from QV show property values in the Auckland region had fallen 0.5 per cent since December, with values in central Auckland suburbs - as well as the North Shore, Manukau and Waitakere - falling for the first time in more than a year.
QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush said the slowdown was likely a result of new measures introduced by the Government and Reserve Bank aimed at curbing investor activity in the country's biggest city, as well as restrictions on money leaving China.
The capital control crackdown is Beijing's response to a huge surge in capital outflows, which are estimated to have reached US$1 trillion last year, a more than seven-fold jump on 2014.
Chinese nationals are officially restricted to the equivalent of US$50,000 a year in foreign exchange, although many loopholes have been used to get around the restriction.
Last month China's central bank pledged to take a hard line on illegal currency transactions - including those facilitated by underground banks - used to sidestep that country's foreign exchange quotas.
"It would seem that it has had some kind of an impact [on Auckland's housing market]," Rush said of the crack down.
She said some of the biggest value declines had been seen in investment housing stock, with values in the North Shore suburb of Onewa, for example, declining 0.6 per cent over the past month.
There has been a large increase in Chinese new migrants coming in under the Investor and Investor Plus categories. So it's going to be harder for those new migrants to bring cash out of China under those categories with the new restrictions.
"That's an area that's very popular with Chinese investors, because they particularly like the Westlake schools zone," Rush said. "But the other thing to consider is that values in some of those areas went up a lot over a very short period of time, so those value increases were unlikely to be sustainable at that level."
She said an increase in Chinese migrants arriving in New Zealand under investor visa categories had correlated with rising house values in Auckland over the past three years.
"There has been a large increase in Chinese new migrants coming in under the Investor and Investor Plus categories," Rush said. "So it's going to be harder for those new migrants to bring cash out of China under those categories with the new restrictions."
There have also been reports of the Chinese crackdown affecting Sydney's hot property market.
Lu Lu Pallier, of Sotheby's International Realty, told the Australian Financial Review last month that Chinese clients had been facing difficulties moving money offshore.
"It is getting harder for them to send money out ... I've been told since the start of the year it has tightened up," she said.
Adjusted for inflation, Auckland house values are up 19.7 per cent in the past year and 45.2 per cent above their 2007 peak.
QV said house values had continued to rise in areas on Auckland's fringes - including Rodney, Papakura and Franklin - as well as most other parts of New Zealand.
The average house value in the Auckland region is now $928,921.