Real estate nears 2007 values

Property values in Timaru are slowly climbing back up to their pre-2007 highs, according to the latest Quotable Value survey.

The government valuer's three-monthly figures, released yesterday, revealed the average sale price in Timaru was $261,828, about 4.8 per cent above the same period last year, and 3.6 per cent higher than December 2007, the point where the last property boom tailed off.

Adjusted for inflation, the current average value is still slightly below the peak highs of 2007.

South Canterbury's Real Estate Institute New Zealand district forum leader Warwick Jones said the figures tallied with his own experiences with the market.

"I would say it's been a steady increase, rather than a deluge," he said.

"We're still getting some of the remnants of the Christchurch earthquakes, but they're not moving en masse as was originally predicted.

"There are also several people waiting for their insurance payouts to get cleared; some of them are even tied up in the courts."

Mr Jones said there also appeared to be an increase in retirees from further south seeking out properties in Timaru.

"There appears to be a number of retirees from, say, Southland, who might have been eyeing up Christchurch, but have reconsidered.

"Timaru appears pretty stable in comparison; the aftershocks have also returned in Christchurch," he said.

A good employment outlook for the district and an increase in prospective property investors could also have been factors, Mr Jones said.

In the Mackenzie district, the latest QV survey estimated the average house value at $275,557, a 5.8 per cent increase on the same period last year, but still 6.8 per cent lower than the late-2007 peak.

However, average values in the Waitaki and Waimate markets have decreased 1.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively in the last 12 months.


The heated property market appears to be bubbling beyond major hotspots in Auckland and Canterbury.

Government valuer QV's latest property value index shows nationwide values have risen 1.5 per cent in the past three months.

Valuations are now 2.6 per cent higher than the previous market peak in late 2007, although still behind on an inflation-adjusted basis.

QV research director Jonno Ingerson said the property market had a reasonably strong start to the year, with plenty of buyer enquiry and sales activity throughout January.

He said the increasing values were no longer solely driven by Auckland and Canterbury.

"Over the last month or two values have also begun rising again in most of the other main cities and provincial centres," he said.

"While the rate of value increase is not as fast as Auckland and Canterbury it does signal an increase in confidence across most of the country."

Auckland is the largest property market by far, and Canterbury is booming as the rebuild from the earthquakes progresses.

Mr Ingerson said a shortage of properties for sale would continue to rein in sales volumes around the country.

The Timaru Herald