Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

House prices rise almost $100 a day

Daily wages eclipsed as relentless rise of home values in growth regions outstrips pay packets

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

The average New Zealand house price rose by $98 a day or nearly $700 a week over the past year, a new analysis shows.

That means that many homeowners earned just $21 more than their house did in a day - the latest Statistics NZ figures show Kiwis earned a median daily wage of $119 (based on a seven-day week).

But in some areas, such as the North Shore, prices surged even higher - to $289 a day, or $2028 a week - with houses earning $163 more than they did in a day (Aucklanders earned a median daily wage of $126).

The daily cost dropped in less thriving areas around the country, including Taupo, by $7 a day.

In Wellington, it rose just $22 a day.

The Herald compared Quotable Value's average residential house values for May to the same month last year, breaking it down into days, weeks and months.

Between the same two months in 2010 and 2011 - before house prices started skyrocketing - national daily prices dropped $104.

The daily cost in the Auckland region rose by $16 a day, and by $18 a day on the North Shore.

It dropped $43 in Wellington.

The average price in New Zealand is now $471,791, up from $436,097 last May.

The wider Auckland region is now $713,709, but sits at $842,769 in Auckland city and $849,285 on the North Shore.

Barfoot & Thompson real estate agent Bruce Murtagh wasn't surprised at the sharp rise, which he put down to Auckland's lack of stock.

"The market certainly has gone up, but it's supply and demand.

"There is never huge amounts of supply in the winter."

He said suburbs that were growing sharply fell outside the most expensive area like Herne Bay and Ponsonby. Avondale, Blockhouse Bay and New Windsor were fast risers.

"If you were to buy in Avondale a year ago, you'd probably have got a house on a full site for $530,000, now it's probably $630,000."

He sold a 42sq m unit in Herne Bay - smaller than many apartments - for more than Wellington's national average house price of $452,099. It went for $459,000 - $154,000 above its valuation. "It did surprise me a little bit," Mr Murtagh said.

On the market for the first time in 30 years, the 1960 one-bedroom brick property at 1/26 West End Rd, Herne Bay is on a cross-lease title and is the front unit in a block of four.

But it has an off-street park, is just a stroll to Jervois Rd, backs onto Bayfield Park and character units were sought after, Mr Murtagh said.

"Not many units come up. If you get something that's from the 1960s, it's always going to go well."

He said the owner had put a new bathroom in, painted the walls and polished the floors before the sale.

Despite strong prices sought by sellers, buyer interest is still high according to realestate.co.nz - which lists 96 per cent of all homes for sale.

Marketing manager Paul McKenzie said there were 10,745 new house listings in May, a 5 per cent increase on April.

It was similar levels to last year, but some regions experienced a drop, such as the Waikato, which was down 19 per cent.

"The good news for buyers is that the available stock of houses for sale is steadily recovering from the historic low levels of August last year," Mr McKenzie said.

Visitor traffic to the site had risen 50 per cent over the past 12 months, he said.

Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan said sale numbers had dropped while the average asking price was rising in many of the provinces - an indication that mortgage-lending restrictions were affecting entry-level buyers.

The limits, which were brought in on October 1 and stop most buyers securing a mortgage without a 20 per cent deposit, should be removed to help first-home buyers achieve the "Kiwi dream of home ownership".

- NZ Herald

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