Property prices continue their rise

National residential property values continue to rise and are up 7.6% on a year ago - a result mirrored in Central Otago and Queenstown, but not in Dunedin.

Rising interest rates, banking restrictions on lending and the traditional winter downturn all appear to be playing a negative role in residential sector data.

Quotable Value data for July said national property values were up 7.6% on a year ago, which is 15.6% above the last market peak in 2007, but the gain was also the slowest annual increase during the past 13 months.

Sales volumes were 15% and 25% lower than the same periods in 2012 and 2013, in the majority of regions around the country.

In Queenstown, sales volumes were declining overall but value levels were appreciating, QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said.

The Reserve Bank loan to value ratio (LVR) restrictions on the banking sector and its having raised the interest-driving official cash rate, had caused a slowing in activity levels and there was reduced pressure from purchasers, Ms Rush said.

''However, land sales are continuing strongly, especially at the low-value end, as first-home buyers take advantage of the lower LVR limits imposed on new-build homes,'' she said. New homes are exempt from the LVR criteria.

Against the national average residential value rise of 7.6% of $479,193 for July , Queenstown Lakes was up 6% at $676,230, Central Otago up 7% at $321,721 and Dunedin up 2.2% at $290,658.

Ms Rush said the Central Otago district had seen ''fairly robust'' sales activity amid ''gradually improving'' market conditions, similar to Queenstown Lakes.

Dunedin-based QV registered valuer Duncan Jack said the highest demand for Dunedin homes was in the low to mid range of $250,000-$350,000.

''The market conditions of recent months prevail in Dunedin, with slowly increasing values and overall listing numbers at low to moderate levels across the city,'' Mr Jack said.

Winter was traditionally the least popular time to sell and more listings were expected going into spring, he said.

''Many buyers are still cautious and appear happy to wait for the `right' property,'' he said.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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