New Zealand house prices are on the rise, but not in Auckland

Wanaka, New Zealand. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

House values in the rampant Auckland market continued to flatten out in March, but there are signs that the market has not yet run its course.

According to valuation service QV, average Auckland house prices in March were $931,061, down 0.2% in the last three months, although they still nearly 17% higher than a year ago.

Elsewhere in the country, most areas saw house prices on the rise. The national average for house prices is now $559,492, up 11.4% in the last year.

QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said the Auckland market had been on a downward trend for three months.

“However, over the past few weeks activity and demand has begun to pick up again across the Super City and values have actually risen again over the past month by 0.6 per cent, so it appears the downward trend may be coming to an end.”

A QV valuer in Auckland James Wilson said it appeared investors were shrugging off the shock of recent regulations.

“The ‘wait and see’ approach which entered the market after new rules to curb investor activity is now subsiding and investors are beginning to re-enter the market.”

Properties which had multiple consented income units were proving particularly popular with both investors and owner-occupiers, he said.

Meanwhile, Rush said, the strong pick-up in house prices in Hamilton and Wellington continued unabated.

Home values in Hamilton are up 23.3% in the last year, due in part to a lack of listings, and Tauranga City values were up 22.6%, with no sign of a let-up from out of town buyers.

Wellington regional house values are up 7.5% year on year, averaging $491,236.

QV valuer Pieter Geill said there was still not enough stock to meet demand from buyers and the number of homes listed for sale was at only about half of what it was three years ago.

“People are lining up to attend some open homes and buyers are finding that their offers need to be unconditional to be successful and it’s been reported that it’s often not the highest offer that wins, but the cleanest offer (with the least conditions) that vendors are accepting.

“Developers are actively looking for sub-dividable land in the Hutt Valley, but there is not much land available. Blocks of flats are selling very well. There are still Auckland investors present but most of the bigger sales this month have been local.”

In the South Island, the Christchurch market was flat while Dunedin prices rose at a steady pace.

Christchurch houses were averaging $485,700, up 2.9% year on year and valuers said the areas with most growth were the entry level suburbs like Linwood, New Brighton and Aranui, which were playing catch up with the wealthier suburbs which boomed after the earthquakes.

But in Dunedin house values were up 8.1% in the last year, with an average value of $315,185.

QV valuer Duncan Jack said sales were “extremely buoyant”.

“Listing levels appear to be fairly static however buyer demand is very strong, with most buyers having strong intentions to purchase which is resulting in multiple offers scenarios remaining commonplace in the market.”

A lack of listings in Hawkes Bay was keeping the market there strong. Napier houses were up 9.1 per cent annually and Hastings were up 9.6%.

Outside the main centres, many provincial centres were experiencing their fastest rate of growth since before 2007.

Whangarei, Napier, Rotorua, Taupo, Carterton in the Wairarapa, as well as the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes Districts were all doing well, as were areas within commuting distance to Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton such as the Waikato, Waipa, Hauraki, Western Bay of Plenty and Kaipara Districts.

“The only areas to see a drop in home values over the first quarter of the year in the North Island apart from parts of Auckland were Otorohanga, Wairoa, South Taranaki and in the South Island, the West Coast districts of Buller and Westland as well as Ashburton and the Christchurch Hills suburbs,” Rush said.

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