Auckland house prices have fallen during the last three months as buyer demand slips and investor activity plummets nationwide, new figures show.
And though the markets have cooled in our larger cities, regional New Zealand is heating up.
Andrea Rush, QV national spokeswoman, acknowledged the trend.
"The latest QV House Price Index figures show values have dropped over the past quarter in parts of Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch and rate of value growth in Tauranga has also slowed as the latest round of LVR [loan to value ratio] restrictions continue to take effect."
The drops contrast markedly with recent Auckland value rises which had exceeded 24 per cent in the 2015 year, dropped back to 12.2 per cent last year and are now recording quarterly decreases.
"While parts of Auckland have seen values drop, values continue to rise in central Auckland, Waiheke Island and in Rodney and Franklin. The same trend of negative growth was seen in parts of the Auckland market this time last year following the introduction of the 30 per cent LVR rules for investors introduced in October 2015, then value began increasing again by April 2016," Rush noted.
"So it's possible the latest quarterly decrease seen in parts of the Auckland will be relatively short-lived as the market drivers of relatively low interest rates, strong net migration and a high number of sales to investors remain."
James Steele, QV Auckland homevalue manager, said there was "uncertainty" about where homes values were going in the city.
"Properties at the lower end of the market in suburbs popular with investors tend to be not selling for the same premiums they were before the new LVRs came in.
"However, there are some record sales prices still being achieved and there remains strong competition for homes in areas popular with both first home buyers, movers and investors not affected by the new loan to value ratio rules," Steele said.
Building costs were also rising and the latest CoreLogic data showed the share of sales to Auckland investors had climbed back to the peak of 43 per cent in the last month, he noted.
However, latest Reserve Bank figures show a sharp fall in national investor activity since the new LVR restrictions were introduced, which had intensified during January.
Investor borrowing fell by nearly a third in January nationwide compared to the same month last year - about $400 million less.
Realestate.co.nz also released data today for the past three months, showing Auckland demand had dropped 10.8 per cent.
Spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said:
"A drop in big city demand shows us that it's not just retirees who could be considering cashing up and moving away from cities like Auckland.
"Auckland is experiencing a double digit fall in demand (10.8 per cent), as is Wellington (18.8 per cent). Demand is measured by taking the average number of listing views on residential properties over the last three months and comparing it to the same time last year."
Despite the fall in demand, Auckland asking prices were rising, she said.
"The average asking price for an Auckland apartment hit an all-time high of $711,892, but is still more obtainable than a house in the city [average asking price $950,446]," realestate.co.nz said.