Wellington property prices on the rise

Last updated 12:58 08/05/2014

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Wellington regional property prices nudged up 0.6 per cent in the past three months and are up 2.8 per cent for the year, according to figures from Quotable Value.

For the greater Wellington region the average value was about $455,000, with average Wellington city prices about $540,000.

QV says there is no shortage of homes for sale in Wellington, though some potential buyers may now be looking to make decisions so they can lock in good interest rates.

The Reserve Bank has already lifted official interest rates twice this year, with another move expected in June, which will push floating mortgage rates higher.

Interest rates are expected to rise significantly by the end of next year, though some economists are now expecting a pause in rate rises later this year.

The annual increase in Wellington prices is well behind the national rise of 8.4 per cent, led by an almost 14 per cent leap in Auckland prices.

Prices are also much stronger in Christchurch, up almost 8 per cent in the year, QV figures show, driven by the shortage of homes of the big earthquakes in the city three years ago.

Wellington property prices tend to be much more stable than the Auckland and Christchurch markets, and Wellington prices are sitting 0.1 per cent below the peak in 2007.

QV said Wellington West is the market leader with values there up 1.4 per cent since February and up 4.6 per cent in the past year. The average value in the area is $607,444 which is also the highest in the Wellington region.

Values in Lower Hutt were up 1.8 per cent in the past three months and 3.6 per cent for the year.

Upper Hutt prices were down 2.1 per cent since February, but remain up 0.4 per cent since April last year.

QV Valuer, Kerry Buckeridge said, "Buyers who have been in the market for property for some time are now knuckling down to make some decisions so that they have time to lock in a good interest rate before further rate rises."

"There is no lack of supply in most of Wellington and the excess of choice often leads to slower decision-making from potential buyers."

"Sales activity in the Eastern suburbs, previously has been driven in popularity by Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop projects, is currently in a lull with no projects underway however values there are still up 2.1 per cent since April last year."

Buckeridge said demand for inner city apartments was high, particularly from people wanting to rent studio and 1-bedroom apartments. QV said rents were "good"  and some landlords said they had full waiting lists.

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"These apartments are proving capable of generating attractive net returns for investors" Buckeridge said.

- The Dominion Post


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