House prices continue gradual rise

House prices have continued their gradual average rise across New Zealand, driven largely by post-earthquake Christchurch rebuilding and booming Auckland, latest property figures show.

In Dunedin, residential property values were 5.1% higher than they were a year ago and have risen 2% over the past three months, government valuer QV's September figures, released this week, show.

Within the city, property value growth on the Taieri had been the lowest at 1.4% over the past year, while growth in coastal areas and on the peninsula was the highest at 10%.

Spring had generated good demand for city property, resulting in good turnouts at open homes, QV Valuer Tim Gibson said.

Lower to mid-range properties were continuing to be snapped up if priced fairly and well presented.

Property values in provincial centres were now slightly increasing almost everything and were starting to follow the trend seen in most of the main cities. In the South, property values are up everywhere except for Southland.

Nationally, property values were up 1.8% over the past three months and 5.3% over the past year, edging ahead of the previous market peak of late 2007.

The figures were released on the same day as a Massey University report showing that buying a home has become more affordable in every part of the country except Auckland over the past year.

Property prices jumped in the wider Auckland area by 2.8% over the past three months and 7.2% over the past year.

Although house prices had been slowly increasing for more than a year, QV's figures had to be put in context, research director Jonno Ingerson warned..

The rate of value increase was relatively slow, he said, now around 5% a year compared to the 10-15% the country enjoyed in the mid-2000s.

And the rise was being driven largely by Auckland and Canterbury. Taking those regions out of the equation, values across the rest of the country had increased only by about 1.5% over the past year.

First-home buyers and investors were more active in the market than they had been for several years, Mr Ingerson said.

But buyers were generally "acting carefully, doing their research and not overpaying" despite the lack of listings, which would ordinarily mean increased competition and prices.

- Additional reporting by APNZ.


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