Heat falling out of Auckland housing market

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 14:07 08/03/2013

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Signs are emerging that the heat in the Auckland real estate market is turning to a simmer, according to Quotable Value.

The valuation service's latest monthly index shows property prices nationally rose modestly in February, up 1.7 per cent over the past three months and 6.3 per cent over the past year.

Property values are now 3.2 per cent above the previous market peak in 2007.

QV research director Jonno Ingerson said the rest of the country was now starting to see increases in value, although not as quickly as Auckland and Canterbury, where there were housing shortages.

In wider Auckland, property values continued to rise, up 10.4 per cent in the past year although there was variation between areas.

But Ingerson said there was also evidence that Auckland prices were beginning to flatten out in some areas, including old Auckland city, Manukau and Rodney.

QV said half the 196 suburbs it tracked across Auckland had dropped in value in the last month.

"This slowdown backed up some of the anecdotal evidence we were hearing that prices in some of the higher-value suburbs had steadied during 2012," Ingerson said.

The property market often changed direction after Christmas, depending on consumer confidence, he said.

However, January had been a strong month for buyer inquiries, and low interest rates and low listings remained unchanged.

So he suggested the slowdown was a sign values were levelling off.

"The next few months will either confirm or deny if this slowdown is likely to continue or be temporary."

In other parts of the country Wellington was treading water, up 1.7 per cent, but Hamilton was up 4.6 per cent, Dunedin up 3.7 per cent and quake-hit Christchurch was up 7.5 per cent in the past year.

Tauranga was the only main centre where prices had been consistently flat, but values for provincial centres were generally improving. Rural areas improved 3.2 per cent.

While auctions continued to rise in popularity, Ingerson said the low number of properties for sale was still constraining buyer choices, "many of whom are keen to buy but cannot find a suitable property".

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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