Property values in February are above the same time last year, with the main urban areas performing well. To find out what's been happening in the six main areas throughout the country, click on the links in the story below.
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Property values in the Auckland region increased by 8.7% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), an improvement on the 7.3% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price for the region remained relatively stable at $548,948.
Glenda Whitehead of QV Valuations said; "The mixed messages from the market continue with activity levels patchy between suburbs and the types of properties selling. It is also possible that the varying financial positions of buyers and sellers are affecting trends within some suburbs. Interestingly, this lack of specific market direction is resulting in more stable values".
"The inactivity of December and January now seems to be behind us, with the latter part of February bringing more action from both buyers and sellers. However, this action to date is resulting in more listings and more buyers actively looking, but it will take time to convert into actual sales.
"In many suburbs, a quick drive through the streets indicates that more listings have come to the market, and we have noticed that buyers are also scoping the market place, but with a continued degree of caution. It will be a relief to many buyers to have more stock to choose from. Market sentiment is not however mimicking the activity that was building this time last year, when many feared missing the low of the market," she said.
"In central Auckland's apartment market, there has recently been some talk of values dropping. The only evidence we have seen of this stems from mortgagee sales or distressed vendor circumstances, and while these sales are still occurring, they are not as prevalent as in the past. Consequently, these sales are impacting less on the wider apartment market where values appear relatively stable," Whitehead said.
"Within West Auckland, the market appears to be ticking over steadily. Buyers seem to be taking the time to do their homework thoroughly. There are still a few investors around, looking for good buys. While some properties are taking a bit longer to sell than perhaps expected, other well priced and presented homes are selling relatively quickly. In the Eastern Manukau suburbs of Pakuranga and Bucklands Beach through to Howick, market activity continues with stable prices and a feeling of consolidation."
"There is a lot of talk about the positions being taken by investors leading up to the May budget announcement on tax treatment of investment property. Anecdotally, evidence suggests that some may be looking to bail out before that date, while others appear to be content to hold. The stance adopted is likely to reflect the ownership and tax regime of each investor and their perceived outcome of the budget announcement."
Property values in Hamilton increased by 4.3% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), an improvement on the 3.5% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price for the city increased from $350,722 to $361,394.
Richard Allen of QV Valuations said; "Although our most recent figures show some growth since February 2009, the QV Index for Hamilton continues to fluctuate within a very narrow band, indicating that the residential market has almost completely flattened off.
"Most parts of the city are experiencing this trend, with the largest year-on-year increases in Hamilton North East, the South and the South West. The Central City/North West Hamilton area was the exception, with year-on-year values decreasing from 5.8% in January to 4.9% in February."
"Although Hamilton's average sale price increased from $350,772 in January to $361,394 in February, it appears that this is most likely the result of activity in the top-end of the market rather than a general increase in value levels. In particular, there has been heightened activity in the north east of the city, as well as in some of the other areas where property is traditionally more expensive," Allen said.
"With interest rates likely to increase mid-year, uncertainty in the economy and agricultural sector, as well as a lack of investor interest, there is not a whole lot to stimulate the residential property market in Hamilton at present. As a consequence, it appears that we are headed towards a sustained period of stability," he said.
Property values in Tauranga increased by 1.0% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), a slight improvement on the 0.6% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price for the region increased slightly from $422,226 to $422,746.
Shayne Donovan-Grammer of QV Valuations said "Tauranga's property market is moving forward in a cautious but positive manner. Investors are still on the sidelines, reassessing their next move and trying to make sense of the proposed tax reforms. Owner-occupier buyers are active, but still looking for sharp prices and in many cases vendors are happy to oblige in order to alleviate their financial burden".
"Most buyers are aware that interest rates are lower than historical averages and are factoring in potential rises when purchasing. A steady up-take of vacant land and house and land packages is promising, as developers work hard to keep the momentum going by offering encouraging deals.
"With existing properties, the $250K to $300K bracket is fairing best, while homes in new subdivisions under or around $400,000 are creating the most interest. Surprisingly, entry level stand alone properties of $220,000 or less are sluggish due to the lack of investors. These properties became over priced when investors flooded the market a few years ago and accelerated values above their inherent worth," Donovan-Grammer said.
Property values in the Wellington region increased by 6.7% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), an improvement on the 5.7% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price for the region increased from $460,638 to $468,698.
Kerry Buckeridge of QV Valuations said; "The anecdotal lift in listing activity we felt in late January has certainly followed through into February. Most real estate agents around Wellington report being extremely busy listing new properties. Sales are occurring, but in many cases it is taking a lot of work to get them across the line.
"Buyers are being very cautious, often inserting multiple conditions into their offers and appear to be focused on sensibly priced, good-quality homes. A very noticeable recent trend has been the amount of valuation work being initiated by vendors seeking guidance on the pricing of their property."
"In terms of value trends, we continue to see gradual monthly growth, albeit a little more subdued than last year. This could be leading to a period of stability, especially given the rapid increase in the amount of housing stock on the market. Some price brackets are performing better than others. Interestingly, lower-end properties in the city area are selling very quickly, along with properties at the very top end of the market.
"The lower-end of the market appears to be driven by first home buyers, despite banks being tougher on deposit requirements than they used to be. Investors appear to be taking a back seat for now, possibly seeking clarity on tax changes and interest rates before making their next move," Buckeridge said.
Property values in Christchurch increased by 6.9% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), an improvement on the 6.3% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price for the city increased marginally from $380,268 to $380,925.
Melanie Swallow of QV Valuations said; "Property values showed a slight recovery in Christchurch during February. Along with the fairly flat average sales price, this indicates stabilisation in the market. Suburban Christchurch has held well with the South West suburbs showing the greatest recovery, up 8.7% from this time last year."
"These results appear to be encouraging but they should still be treated with caution and are more likely indicating solidification in the market. Activity is still segmented in the eastern suburbs, which are showing a small decrease of -0.4%. The majority of housing stock here tends to fit into the entry-level to mid part of the market.
"In the southwest, central and northern suburbs, entry level housing is still doing well, with a lift in enquiry and activity. The number of listings for sale is on the rise and signs of a more traditional market are emerging. We recommend that purchasers continue to exercise caution with their buying decisions. There continues to be some uncertainty in the market place, although sentiment overall is upbeat. Another two or three months should provide a clearer indication as to the direction of different market segments," Swallow said.
Property values in Dunedin increased by 6.2% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2010 in comparison to the same period last year), up on the 5.0% annual growth reported in January. The average sale price in Dunedin increased from $279,101 to $285,787.
Tim Gibson of QV Valuations said; "The positive growth in Dunedin's residential property market is evident in all areas of Dunedin, with coastal Dunedin playing catch-up to other areas in terms of year-on-year growth. However values are still 3% below the market peak of July 2007".
"The uncertainty which has persisted in the property market since Christmas still remains, and can be confirmed by other underlying indicators. QV's residential price index has shown a decrease for the second consecutive month - a guide that values may be leveling out within Dunedin. This is also a trend shown by more provincial areas of New Zealand over the past two to three months," Gibson said.
"It has been reported that property listings for the month of February have increased significantly since low volumes experienced over December and January. This may be due to more investors selling-out before the government budget is announced in May, when taxation details are due to be confirmed. The next two or three months will be a good guide as to how the property market will perform during 2010," he said.