House values across the country are losing ground because of cautious buyers and high levels of distressed sales pulling down prices.

QV Valuation's June index - calculated from the previous three months' market figures - is 5.2 per cent above the same period last year. This followed the 5.6 per cent reported last month, which was down on the 6.1 per cent of the previous month.

The national average house sale price actually rose to $404,715 last month from $403,070 in May but because of a change in types of sales taking place.

Glenda Whitehead, of QV, said winter sales levels were 20 per cent below the long-term average. Fewer new properties were coming to the market. However, this was normal for the season rather than due to the Budget's measures on property.

Any impact on the market would take over 12 months to measure as various tax changes were brought in.

Ms Whitehead said buyers were very cautious and selective and properties with perceived flaws such as structural problems, or poor maintenance, were proving harder to sell.

In the Auckland region, the annual growth in values was 7.9 per cent above last year - down from the 8.8 per cent reported last month. Wellington slipped to 4.1 per cent and Christchurch to 5.9 per cent. Hamilton and Tauranga values were static and were declining in Whangarei, Rotorua and Gisborne. A cooling market - helped by negative talk and a recession hangover - was confirmed for the Auckland region, where the average June sale price was $537,412.

"The wait-and-see approach, seen in the latter part of 2008, appears to be back," said Ms Whitehead. "The market will probably continue to plod along fairly sluggishly over the next three to four months, with perhaps a lift in spring."

AREA BY AREA
Average house sale prices for June 2010:
Whangarei: $321,513
North Shore: $586,478
Auckland Metro: $622,477
Waitakere: $408,612
Manukau: $450,615
Papakura: $370,465
Franklin: $374,644
Hamilton: $347,283
Rotorua: $267,346
Tauranga: $413,957
Taupo: $326,572
Gisborne: $264,134