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Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland house values dip, Wellington house values up

Further evidence has emerged that Auckland is becoming more of a buyer's market as house prices flatten across the city.

But experts say pressures that has seen the average Auckland house value surge past $1 million remain and prices could head north again later this year.

Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga house values either dropped or rose slightly during the last three months, reflecting flat growth nationally of only 0.6 per cent.

Quotable Value's latest quarterly data, out today, shows average values across Auckland dipped 0.2 per cent in the last three months.

North Shore and Waitakere values dropped 1.4 per cent and Manukau central values fell 1 per cent.

Auckland's average current value is now $1,045,362, while the national average stands at $631,432, according to the QV House Price Index.

While quarterly figures were flat, year-on-year Auckland values rose 12.3 per cent, QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush said.

Strong house price growth in recent years has been driven by surging inward migration, record low interest rates and a severe shortage of available housing.

But LVR (loan to value ratio) lending restrictions aimed at investors have taken some of the heat out of the market, and seen prices stabilise following a period of soaring house price inflation.

Rush said the latest figures showed Wellington region had some of the strongest value growth nationally, particularly in more affordable areas outside the central city such as Porirua and the Hutt Valley.

Although values in parts of Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch were still seeing a slight downward trend, Rush expects all this to change soon.

"It's possible we may see values start to rise in these main centres in coming months given that the market is still being driven by a high number of sales to investors, record high net migration, relatively low interest rates, a lack of supply and fewer taxes on property investment than many other countries," Rush said.

James Steele, QV Auckland home value manager, said the volume of Auckland sales had declined due to LVR lending restrictions.

"However, the top end of the market where cash buyers are not affected by the LVRs continues to see strong value growth, with the upmarket suburbs selling more readily and are seeing stronger value growth than those in cheaper parts of Auckland such as the city's southern and western outskirts," Steele said.

"This is leading to higher value areas seeing property values continuing to rise in desirable areas with larger homes in central suburbs such as Remuera and Mission Bay," Steele said.

- NZ Herald

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