Property values remain relatively stable at a national level, though variability continues to be seen between areas and only Nelson has values at same level as 2010, according to the latest QV report for March.
"Over the last 12 months nationwide values declined gradually through until December before becoming a little more variable in the months since," said QV research director Jonno Ingerson.
"As a result values are now 2% lower than the same time last year, and 5.9% below the market peak of late 2007."
Ingerson said the nationwide leveling was driven largely by a slight recovery in values in Auckland and Wellington, offsetting continued declines in provincial and rural areas.
However, "these first signs of a possible recovery in values were short lived as both Auckland and Wellington slide back again in March. With the uncertainty created by the Christchurch earthquake, and the low level of sales activity in previous months, it is reasonable to expect that there may be some volatility in the market for a few months."
"There was a lift in activity in March, particularly in Auckland and Wellington, after a quiet January and February. First home buyers are back looking in the more affordable areas perhaps buoyed by lower interest rates. However many buyers remain non-committal, knowing that there is limited competition and that values are not expected to rise significantly in the short term. Good quality properties continue to attract interest and sell as the value expected," Ingerson said.
In Auckland the QV residential price index showed that property values have decreased by 1% over the past year, with values falling after recent growth.
"Overall, the underlying statistics indicate a relatively stable market in the Auckland region. An increase in March sales volumes compared to previous months suggests pick up in activity," said QV Valuations Glenda Whitehead.
She said some areas of Auckland were performing better than others, with suburbs close to the CBD, with character homes or close to favoured school zones performing better.
"The general feeling is that the market still lacks any urgency, due to a prediction of limited short term value growth. Many only act if a property meets the majority of their criteria. Those selling a property that fits the criteria, are tending to get a favourable sale price, especially if there are no other similar properties available. But this is just one small slice of the market," she said.
"Those properties that don't match buyers check-list or there are a number of similar ones on the market, values tend to be relatively flat."
QV said the average selling price for a property in the Auckland region in March was $535,131.
In the capital property values have decreased by 2.9% over the past year, with values sliding after showing growth in recent months.
"We have seen growth in sale volumes and listings over the last month. However, values have fallen across the Wellington area and are marginally below what they were a year ago. This is despite lower interest rates and greater affordability as a result," said QV Valuations Pieter Geill.
The average sales price for Wellington in March was $449,187.
In Hamilton property values decreased by 3.8% over the past year and have continued to slide over the past couple of months.
QV Valuations Richard Allen said that while the Hamilton market had shown signs of resilience, with values increasing by 0.1% over the last year, "there doesn't appear to be anything in the short term that will stimulate Hamilton's residential market, which is likely to remain subdued for the foreseeable future."
The average sales price for Hamilton in March was $330,701.
In Tauranga property values decreased by 2.4% over the past year, and have continued to trend downwards.
"Overall the Tauranga market is subdued but there is still good activity within some price brackets and locations," said QV Valuations Shayne Donovan-Grammer.
He said Tauranga benefitted from its sizeable population base, but that properties needed to be better presented and realistically priced to sell.
"The days of getting reasonable money for a tired looking property are long gone, the market simply won't tolerate it," he said.
The average sales price for Tauranga in March was $403,744.
In Dunedin the residential price index for March showed property values decreased by 3.8%, and while values have fluctuated, the general trend has been downward.
"The residential property market in Dunedin continues to show little signs of recovery," said QV Valuations Tim Gibson.
"Values and sales volumes have continued to fall, which is the trend experienced over the past six months."
"A recent sale emphasising the decreasing value levels is a Corstorphine property. This was a sound but original brick bungalow selling in March 2010 for $205,000 and has recently just sold again for $196,000, representing a 4.4% decrease over a one year period," he said.
The average sales price for Dunedin in March was $263,542.
QV said it unable to provide figures for Christchurch due to the slowdown in sales since the February 22 earthquake.
However, QV Valuations Melanie Swallow said there has been strong interest shown in well priced, quality homes in suburban Christchurch that has been unaffected by the earthquake.
"The fact that the market has some traction is very encouraging, but there is still a long way to go," she said.
"There remains a lot of uncertainty in the market and we expect market sentiment to be quite fragmented for some time to come."
Across the provincial centres, nowhere has values above the same time last year.
Compared to March 2010, Whangarei is -6.2%, Rotorua -4.2%, Gisborne -6%, Hastings and Napier both -1.5%, New Plymouth -3.7%, Wanganui -3.6% and Palmerston North -4%.
In the South Island Nelson has been one of the strongest markets and not sits at the same level as last year, while Queenstown Lakes in -1.7% below last year and Invercargill -3.4%.