Region's houses still affordable - agents

Marlborough property managers and real estate agents believe homes in the region are very affordable, despite New Zealand houses ranking among the most expensive in the world.

The latest report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed New Zealand houses were the second-most expensive in the developed world, based on the ratio of price-to-income, and the most-overvalued relative to rents.

According to the report, if the price-to-rent ratio (a measure of the profitability of owning a house) and the price-to-income ratio (a measure of affordability) were above their long-term averages, house prices were said to be overvalued.

Harcourts Marlborough business owner and sales manager Chris Greenhill said she felt homes were not overvalued in Marlborough.

Their sales data from April 2013 to April 2014 for the region showed prices increased "only slightly on the previous year", Greenhill said.

The median valuation in April last year was $295,000 and was $300,000 in 2014.

The median sale price in April 2013 was $307,500 compared with $330,000 this year.

Their property management team said tenants saw a slight increase in rents at the beginning of the year due to a lack of quality properties available, Greenhill said.

They were not seeing any continued signs of lack of supply, so rents should remain static, she said.

Mark Stevenson First National senior property manager Mariette Knudsen said rental prices in Blenheim increased slightly because of the hike in insurance fees after the Christchurch and Seddon earthquakes - not because of the report.

"It's only just recently that we have put them [rent prices] up a wee bit - they are not significant increases. They are all market driven.

"It's still cheaper to rent a house than own one."

Bayleys Blenheim director Glenn Dick said while Auckland and Christchurch rental and house prices were quite high, Marlborough was quite affordable.

"Marlborough is the cheapest place to live in terms of rent and house price . . . there couldn't be a better place to buy."

Quotable Value's (QV) residential property index showed the average value of Marlborough homes was $346,573 in April 2014, an increase of 1.4 per cent over the past 12 months.

The Marlborough Express