House prices holding up in the regions

Regional average home value gains are up on most of the main centres, but across the country the quarterly data is flat, reflected in single-figure percentage gains.

The Reserve Bank's loan to value ratio (LVR) restrictions on bank lending and rising interest rates continue to cool the housing market, with Auckland down 0.6% for the quarter, Wellington up 1.9%, Christchurch down 1% and Dunedin up 1.4%, according to Quotable Value data for September released yesterday.

The unknown makeup of the future government coalition and effect on property policies has added another dimension of uncertainty.

Areas around Otago figure strongly in house value gains made on September a year ago, but again the quarterly data - ranging from -0.4% declines to 4.8% gains - is only slightly up on most other places around the country.

Queenstown's $1.07 million value continues to to be higher than wider Auckland's $1.03 million; but multiple Auckland suburbs are in a range $1.1million to $1.53 million .

QV national spokesman David Nagal said while the year-on-year growth was still showing double-digit gains in many of New Zealand's provincial towns, the quarterly change showed a gradual slowing of the property market in almost all city locations.

''The reductions in quarterly value growth have extended from just the main centres last month to almost all the 15 major urban areas we track, with the exception of Rotorua, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Invercargill,'' he said in a statement.

The nationwide average value is 56% above the previous peak in 2007 at $646,378, but during the past quarter values rose only 1.1%.

Of 105 areas collated by QV, 46 booked a more than 10% annual increase, with seven of the eight areas within the Otago region above 10%.

QV's Dunedin property consultant, Aidan Young, said demand remained strong for well-presented properties in Dunedin, with many multi-offer situations and unconditional offers becoming more frequent, fuelled by the lack of supply.

''However, the LVR restrictions are having an impact on the ability for some purchasers to obtain finance, particularly investors, and some clients are reporting that they have to shop around to obtain loans from retail banks,'' he said in a statement.

Mr Nagal said with the uncertainty of who will govern the country in coming weeks, there were coalition policies which could influence the property market.

''What will be most interesting will be whether a new government supports the relaxing of the Reserve Bank's LVR restrictions as well as what support policies get rolled out to help first home buyers get on to the property escalator,'' Mr Nagal said.

Other factors in the mix included a gradual reduction in immigration numbers and the increase in housing supply, he said.

Elsewhere in the South Island, Mr Nagal said during the past quarter values were still performing well in the upper South Island in Tasman, Nelson City and Kaikoura.

They continued to be strong in Mackenzie - up 5.7% over the past quarter and 28.3% on a year ago - while Clutha was up 4.8% and 12.9% annually.

''There have also been slight increases in the all of the Southland and Otago districts,'' he said

On the West Coast, Grey and Westland District values decreased, as had those in all of the Canterbury region districts, Mr Nagal said.


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