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Parts of Auckland see property values above 2007 peak

Property values in parts of Auckland are above the market peak of 2007, while Wellington values languish 7.7% below.

While national property values have continued to gradually increase, it remains a tale of two cities for Auckland and Wellington.

The latest QV index for August revealed that while nationwide property values are 5% below the market peak of 2007, in the old Auckland City values are now 1.5% above the 2007 peak. In contrast, the capital has seen values fall 2.4% over the past year to 7.7% below the 2007 peak.

The rise in values – and an increase in sales – was also revealed in the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) August report.

REINZ reported 5,192 unconditional sales in August, up 905 sales (21.1%) on August 2010.

The volume of sales for August 2011 was 264 sales higher than July 2011, a slightly stronger lift than the seasonal pattern expected at this time of year.

The national median house price rose by $10,000 to $355,000 (up 2.9%) in August compared to July 2011 and just a $5,000 (1.4%) rise on August 2010.

"The real estate market appears to be fairly well balanced at present,” said REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan.

"Volumes are rising, listings are short and the days to sell measure is gently declining. The one piece that isn't showing any discernable trend is prices, which continue to move sideways."

REINZ said the strongest rise in volumes compared to August 2010 was in Waikato/Bay of Plenty, up 33.2%. Nelson/Marlborough saw the next strongest rise, up 29%, followed by Auckland, up 27.4% and Northland, up 25%.

Only one region, Taranaki, saw a fall in sales volume compared to August last year.

Nationwide, QV reported property values increased slightly over the past month and are now 0.1% above the same time last year and 5% below the park of late 2007.

"Although nationwide values are gradually increasing, there remain differences between areas, with the Auckland and Canterbury areas in particular helping to hold up values overall," said QV Valuations Glenda Whitehead.

"Values in the Auckland area have increased 2.8% since January, and are now 2.2% above the same time last year and only 0.3% below the previous market peak of late 2007."

Whitehead said that with the exception of the Rodney area, values have grown in recent months across the Auckland Supercity, with the old Auckland city seeing values increase the fastest – up 3% over the past year and now 1.5% above the market peak of late 2007.

North Shore has increased by 2.4% over the past year, and Waitakere and Manukau just over 1%.

While values are up across the board in Auckland, Wellington has not favoured so well.

"Values in the Wellington area have continued to decline, dropping 1.9%since January and 2.4% over the past year. Unlike Auckland where values are now just below the previous market peak, Wellington is 7.7% below. However, there are the first signs that values may be leveling off."

While values may be declining in Wellington, REINZ reported a 9.2% rise in sales compared to July in the region, with Upper Hutt displaying "noticeable strength compared to August 2010."

Whitehead said recent provisional data suggests values in both Auckland and Wellington may be leveling off a little.

"In both centres there are indications that the number of new listings may be increasing which may offer fresh choices for potential buyers," she said.

"If this turns out to be the case then sales volumes should pick up in Spring following the traditional seasonal pattern which has been largely absent in recent years."

In Christchurch, Whitehead said values had been increasing steadily for the past few months, driven by demand for houses in undamaged areas.

"Compared to this time a year ago values are up by 1.7%, with most of that growth being in the past few months," she said.

Areas around Christchurch have also seen strong growth, with Selwyn, Waimakariri and Ashburton Districts all up by around 4%.

She said recent trends had continued in other main centres, with values in Hamilton and Tauranga remaining relatively stable although still below last year by 1.8% in Hamilton and 0.5% in Tauranga. Dunedin has some volatility in values over the past year but values in general appear to be decreasing, and are now 2.9% below this time last year.

Across the provinces QV reported that most centres have seen values either increase or remain steady in the past three months, though compared to a year ago current values are generally lower.

Queenstown Lakes is the main exception with values 3.5% above last year.

Hastings (-0.2%), Napier and Nelson (both 0.2%) have values similar to last year, with Palmerston North (-0.8%) not far behind.

Whangarei (-3.8%), Rotorua (-2.6%), Gisborne (-4.1%), New Plymouth (-3%) and Invercargill (-3.4%) all remain down on last year.

Wanganui is the only provincial centre to have dropped significantly over the last three months, with values now 7.2% below last year.


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