Northland property market brighter

Northland property values were down slightly in the past year and significantly lower than the market's 2007 peak, but a surge of activity with buyers relocating from Auckland to coastal properties in the north has local agents happy.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures show the median sale price in Northland last month was $284,500, down from $305,000 at the same time last year. Nearly 130 properties sold last month.

Barfoot and Thompson's Martin Dear said the Northland market had been picking up.

"I've seen a lot brighter things. I've seen Aucklanders coming up now, the coastals [sales] actually picked up, I just feel a lot more positive about what's going on."

Mr Dear said those cashing in on record Auckland prices were moving into coastal properties in Northland.

"I don't think we've seen increases in values, but we've seen increases in activity."

Nationally, the median sales price dropped from December's record of $389,000 to $370,000 last month. But January's median is up 4.3 per cent year-on-year, says the latest REINZ Residential Market Report.

Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the housing market was highly seasonal.

"Prices and volumes tend to ease from their year-end levels in January."

Meanwhile, the average national residential property value has edged 2.6 per cent above the previous market peak of late 2007, says QV.

The latest QV property value index shows residential values nationwide continued to climb in January.

Values were up 1.5 per cent over the past three months and 6.2 per cent over the past year.

QV's Jonno Ingerson said it was a relatively strong start to the year. "There has been plenty of buyer enquiry and sales activity throughout January.

"The increase in nationwide values is no longer solely being driven by Auckland and Canterbury."

Regional values were not rising at the same speed as Auckland and Canterbury, but there was an increase in confidence across most of the country, Mr Ingerson said.

Values in most provinces increased by only 1 to 1.5 per cent over the past three months - the exceptions being Rotorua (down 1.7 per cent) and Queenstown Lakes (down 0.6 per cent). Stronger increases were seen in Nelson and Central Hawke's Bay.

Meanwhile, Westpac cut its fixed mortgage rates on Monday.

The bank reduced its one-year rate from 5.25 per cent to 4.89 per cent, its three-year rate from 5.90 per cent to 5.39 per cent, and its five-year rate from 5.99 per cent to 5.75 per cent.

Late last month, ASB cut three of its fixed home loan rates by 0.15 per cent.

- Northern Advocate

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