Winter cools Auckland house price growth: QV

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 12:00 07/08/2014

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Auckland's rampant property market is finally seeing a "normal" winter, and the slowdown in house prices growth continued in many main centres last month, as sale volumes tumbled.

National property values for July were up 7.6 per cent over the past year and 2.3 per cent over the past three months, according to valuation service QV. Scroll down to see how your centre fared.

However, the slowdown in price growth evident for several months continued and sales volumes are now down between 15 and 25 per cent on last year.

QV blamed the slowdown on a combination of winter, the "LVR" low deposit mortgage restrictions and rising interest rates.

The rate rises was now pushing people to fix their mortgage to keep their repayments from ballooning, said Auckland valuer Bruce Wiggins.

"A rate increase of 1 per cent per annum may not seem a lot but with large mortgages it can make quite a big difference to repayments."

However, with the Reserve Bank signalling a pause in rate rises, QV also noted that banks had resumed their aim on first-home buyers, advertising loans to those with deposits of less than 20 per cent.

In Auckland, property values rose 2.1 per cent for the three months to July and 11.7 per cent year on year. The biggest increases in the past three months were on the North Shore coast (up 3.5 per cent), followed by Rodney - North (up 3.2 per cent).

But a few areas were starting to lose value, including the central part of Auckland city, which lost 1.2 per cent over the last three months, the area's first decline in two years.

Some properties were now sitting around for several months with either no offers or below expectation bids, said Wiggins.

"This is the first 'normal' winter the Auckland property market has seen in a few years, where we are seeing reduced house sales and fewer attendees at open homes."

Elsewhere, house values in Christchurch were still on the rise and Tauranga and Dunedin were up slightly, while Hamilton's bull run had tapered off and values in the Capital continued their downward trend.

Hamilton valuer Nicky Harris said house sales there had been declining for some time but the market was steady and there was a shortage of stock in established areas.

House values in Hamilton City edged down 0.2 per cent over the past three months but were up 3.9 per cent on a year ago.

"There are more properties in the $600,000 plus range coming on to the market and supply has finally caught up with demand resulting in a slowdown in volumes and sale prices due to this greater choice for purchasers."

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Winter was having little effect on sunny Tauranga city, which enjoyed a 1.2 per cent lift in values in the last three months and a 5.6 per cent increase year on year.

QV valuer Mairi Macdonald said the number of sales in Tauranga was falling, especially those under $350,000, but more expensive properties were selling to wealthy investors and out of towners.

In wider Wellington, house values slipped 0.9 per cent in the last three months but have firmed 1.2 per cent year on year.

The outstanding performer was the Kapiti coast where values have risen 0.6 per cent in the past three months and 3.2 per cent year on year.

Valuer Kerry Buckeridge said that the city had clearly entered the winter season.

"Even those real estate agents who have been optimistic up until now are saying there has been very little activity over the last six weeks and few factors to drive market growth. 

"The Hutt Valley is very quiet, perhaps more so than Wellington."

In housing-short Christchurch, prices were up 2.1 per cent for the last three months and 6.5 per cent for the year,  but a more normal market was developing as new supply lowered demand.

Valuer Daryl Taggart said activity was a far cry from the activity 12 to 18 months ago.

"Over the past few months it has only been in the new build housing market where things appear to be at full steam ahead.

"There is no longer such a large shortage of supply as more homes have been repaired and more new homes have been completed and are coming to market."

Property values in the steady Dunedin City market rose 0.3 per cent over the past three months and by 2.2 per cent year on year.

- Stuff

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