Auckland property hot spots cool - a bit

Price rises in Auckland property hot spots have cooled and experts expect interest rate rises to keep hitting the market across the country.

The latest figures from QV show an 8 per cent increase in its national property value index in the year to June.

But, ASB economist Christina Leung said the index's gains had been losing strength since the beginning of the year.

It now seemed clear house-price inflation had peaked about November last year and house-price growth would probably be 6 per cent by the end of the year.

"But given the fact that there are still housing shortages in the markets, particularly in Auckland and Canterbury, that will maintain upwards pressure on prices," she said.

QV said today that the national average property value was $476,346, up 2.1 per cent over the past three months.

In the Auckland area, the average value was $718,285, up 12.3 per cent year on year and 2.7 per cent over the last three months.

QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush said that while values were still going up, the picture was not consistent across the country.

"Residential values in Auckland and Christchurch are still increasing at a similar rate to what they were in June last year," she said.

However, values in Wellington and Dunedin were showing "a downward trend this month, as are a number of other provincial centres".

Despite the traditional winter downturn, QV said sales volumes and home-loan approvals were both down between 15 per cent to 20 per cent on the same time last year.

In Auckland, the biggest increases in values were in Manukau East, up 4.3 per cent in the past three months, followed by the North Shore (4.2 per cent) and Waitakere (2.3 per cent).

Auckland valuer Bruce Wiggins said auctions were still popular in high-value areas but growth was easing in other areas and more people were opting for an asking price or to sell by negotiation.

"The gradual reduction in growth is particularly noticeable in 'hot spots' such as Waitakere, which was up 17 per cent year-on-year a few months ago and is now showing a 15.2 per cent increase year-on-year, and Papakura, where values are also flattening off," he said.

Values were also rising in Hamilton City, where they were up 1.1 per cent for the past three months and 4.9 per cent over the year, driven by the top end of the market.

Hamilton valuer Nicky Harris said values were easing elsewhere in the city, but there were also fewer properties available so "it's still a seller's market".

In the wider Wellington area, house values fell to an average of $452,649, down 0.4 per cent over the last three months although they are up 1.4 per cent year-on-year.

Wellington valuer Kerry Buckeridge said there was no pressure in the market to drive values along and the average days to sell had risen to more than 40 days, which was high for the capital.

"People are being very careful and cautious with their property decisions," Buckeridge said.

One silver lining was a winter lull in listings, which was helping real estate agents sell some houses which had been on the market for a while, "so that's positive".

In Christchurch City, average property values are now $459, 617, up 2.5 per cent in the past three months and 7 per cent for the year.

Valuer Daryl Taggart said the market looked like it was quietening down but there were plenty of sales still taking place.

"Properties are still selling at auction but increasingly a higher percentage of properties are being passed in and selling afterwards by negotiation, generally at terms more favourable to the buyer,"  he said.

QV said the picture in the provinces was mixed.

In the North Island, there had been a fall in values over the past three months, including Rotorua district down 3.1 per cent and Whanganui down 2 per cent.

However, values in Taupo had risen 3.3 per cent since April along with Thames-Coromandel (up 1.3 per cent), New Plymouth (up 0.7 per cent) and the Rangitikei (up 4.7 per cent).

In the South Island, Queenstown Lakes eased 0.5 per cent over the past three months but Invercargill rose 2.2 per cent and Marlborough rose 1.4 per cent.