Christchurch house value spike easing

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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House values in Canterbury are still rising but the rate of growth may finally be slowing, new figures show.

New data from state-owned valuer Quotable Value (QV) shows the average value of a house in Christchurch is $456,131 - up 2.6 per cent from three months ago and 12 per cent on the same time a year ago.

Real estate agents spoken to by The Press yesterday agreed the market was slowing but said house prices would carry on increasing because demand continued to outstrip supply.

QV research director Jonno Ingerson said the rate of growth had "slowed considerably" across the country over the past month.

Although it was early to claim a trend, Ingerson said the timing aligned with new restrictions on loan-to-value ratios (LVR), which had reduced the number of first-home buyers active in the market and had increased buyer caution.

It was likely that a predicted increase in mortgage interest rates in the near future was also responsible for slowing down house values, he said.

QV valuer Daryl Taggart said Christchurch's property market had been relatively quiet over the holiday period and there had been a "noticeable flattening" of values in the Selwyn District, with a rise of only 1.1 per cent over the last three months.

"A lot of people have had to spend a lot time trawling through listings and going around open homes. Some people [may have] taken the Christmas period to have a bit of a break."

Taggart said there had been a shift in parts of Christchurch that had been quiet after Canterbury's earthquakes, such as the eastern suburbs (up 8.6 per cent in the last year), as there was "still not a lot of choice" in the city's overall property market for prospective buyers.

"There's still a lot of work on, but we're seeing a lot of sales of properties that have been repaired and there should be no reason why a home buyer shouldn't buy a property that has been repaired."

Elsewhere around the South Island, Dunedin's property market was showing reasonable demand, with values up 2.5 per cent compared to a year ago, while Queenstown's values grew 5.6 per cent in the same period and Westland grew 6.9 per cent.

However, declines had been seen in some regions over the last year, including Southland (-4.2 per cent), Invercargill (-0.4 per cent) and the Buller district (-6.9 per cent).

Real Estate Institute director Tony McPherson said figures due to be released by the institute later this week would also show a "steadying off" in the house market, particularly from first-home buyers and provincial parts of the South Island.

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"There's a little bit more caution around the market. That rate of increase has certainly dropped off," he said.

Harcourts Grenadier co-owner Rob McCormack thought increases in Canterbury's house values could be slowing as more of those affected by the earthquakes bought new homes and new housing developments progressed.

However, demand was still outstripping supply, which would force house values up, he said.

David Blackwell, of Total Realty, said any house that was marketed and priced correctly was still selling quickly. LVR changes had not made as much of a mark as he had feared.

THE AVERAGES

Average house values and annual growth:

Nelson $401,953 +2.8 per cent

Grey District $227,033 -7.1 per cent

Waimakariri $400,425 +9.4 per cent

Christchurch $456,131 +12 per cent

Selwyn $487,046 +30.6 per cent

Timaru $276,072 +5.4 per cent

Queenstown Lakes $653,950 +5.6 per cent

Dunedin $289,078 +2.5 per cent

Invercargill $205,258 -0.4 per cent

National $467,499 +9.6 per cent Source: CoreLogic Value Index 

- The Press

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