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General overview
The Buller District Rating Revaluation for 2016 is now confirmed and property owners will soon receive a 2016 Notice of Rating Valuation with an updated rating value for their property.
The new rating valuations have been prepared on 7,876 properties on behalf of the Buller District Council by Quotable Value (QV).
Rating valuations are fit for purpose valuations carried out on all properties in New Zealand, usually once every three years to help local councils set rates for the following three year period. Rating values are just one of a number of factors councils use to allocate rates. 
The updated rating valuations should reflect the likely selling price of a property at the effective revaluation date, which was 1 September 2016, but do not include chattels. However, council rates will not be updated based on the new 2016 rating valuations until 1 July 2017.  
Quotable Value comments
QV rating value Lead Valuer, Richard Kolff said; “The overall land value of Buller District is $1.6 billion which is an 8.7% decrease from 2013, and the overall capital value is $2.75 billion which is an 8.9% decrease.
“Residential capital values have decreased by 18% and land values have decreased by 28% overall for the District.
“Westport and Reefton have seen the greatest decrease in values driven mainly by the job losses associated with the downturn in the mining industry, and the closing of the Holcim cement plant has been a further influence on jobs and thus demand for housing in the Westport market. 
“In Westport residential dwellings have had a drop in capital values of 20.3% and an overall reduction in land values of 35.2%. For a dwelling, the average capital value is $183,000 and the average land value is $51,000.
“The market has shown that poorly presented properties have had a greater reduction in value than new or well-presented properties in terms of sales prices achieved on the market. 
“In Reefton, the average capital value of dwellings is $148,000 and the average land value is $35,000. This represents an overall decrease in capital values of 24.6% and an overall decrease in land values of 39.7%.
“The commercial and industrial business sector has also seen a reduction in total values since the last rating revaluation in 2013, with capital values 20.6% lower than 2013 and land values 22.2% lower.
“Dairy farming dominates the rural market in Buller and the positive outlook for milk prices has led to farming prices remaining stable overall compared with the 2013 values.
“Lifestyle property value changes are more aligned to the residential market than rural, and the capital values have decreased by 13.1% and the land values have decreased by 14.5% in this sector of the market.
“Overall, value changes reflect the challenging economic conditions the Buller District has faced recently, with the greatest effects seen in the residential and business markets in Westport and Reefton. 
“The current outlook for all of the region’s major industries including mining, dairying and tourism is now increasingly more positive. We expect it will not be long before that is reflected in a more active market and an upswing in values.”
What does this mean to the ratepayer?
It’s important to remember that while a rating valuation should reflect the likely price a property would sell for at the effective date of the rating revaluation for your district, it does not include chattels i.e. movable personal items such as curtains and appliances.
Also they are not designed to be used as a current market valuation which can be provided to banks for use in raising finance or for other legal purposes. Current market valuations require an individual inspection of a property and full written report by a Registered Valuer.
If your new rating value has changed that doesn’t necessarily mean that your rates will change; it depends on your council’s requirements and how rating values have changed over the rest of the area. 
If all rating values drop by the same amount, your percentage share of the overall requirement remains the same, and so do your rates, but this does depend on your council’s funding requirements.
Other helpful information
Earlier this year, QV’s rating managers developed a concept and some key messages to help educate people on rating values, the “how and why”.  
They have finished a short video and it’s on YouTube:
The actual link is available on the QV group website ( and Council’s website (, and QV are proposing posting it on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Your new rating value will be posted to you after 13 December. If you disagree with your rating value you have the right to object. The objection close-off date is 30 January 2017. You can object online at or call 0800 787 284 to request an objection form.
Nick Goodall, Senior Research Analyst, CoreLogic NZ Ltd.
2016 has provided us with a year full of uncertainty for the NZ property market. 
Last month we wrote about why we were hanging up our fortune teller’s hat. Since then, we’ve experienced significant earthquakes and their subsequent aftershocks and now, completely out of nowhere we’re due a new Prime Minister. Government regulation and policy could become even more difficult to perfectly predict. It’s also been a year of big international surprises, with Trump’s US victory and the Brexit vote both causing doubt amongst even the most experienced economists about what it actually all means for individual countries and the global economy. 
Property prices in Auckland have gone through a significant period of growth for almost four years and serious questions are now being asked about whether housing in our largest city is overvalued.  According to the QV House Price Index (released last week), annual growth has slowed to 12.8% after peaking at the end of 2015 at 24.4% but with an average property value of $1.05m, any growth from this point on could be seen as excessive, especially with wage growth not keeping pace. 
Nevertheless, the slowdown is real with higher prices and tighter lending restrictions resulting in higher deposits being required for all borrowers: no doubt the biggest current barrier to entry considering that credit is still very accessible (although this is changing).
For areas outside of Auckland, 2016 has been a year of playing catch-up. While Auckland enjoyed consistently strong growth over the last four years, most other centres had experienced single digit growth up until mid-late 2015. That’s when things really kicked into gear: lending policies were tightened for Auckland, loosened elsewhere and mortgage interest rates fell.  All of a sudden it was game on! 
Annual growth in Hamilton peaked at 31.5% in July 2016, while Tauranga’s peak was a month later at 28.5%. Aucklanders increased their presence in these markets but local activity also led to increased competition for a quickly reducing stock and subsequent price rises. Both cities have since slowed, with Hamilton now at 23.1% annual growth and Tauranga at 26.5%.
Further south and Wellingtonians took a bit longer to get going but from May to September the annual growth rate grew from 10.2% to 21.2% - an exceptionally steep curve, especially for the winter months. Growth has since stagnated over the last 2 months, with November’s annual growth at 20.6%. First home buyers have continued to make their presence felt across the Wellington market; accounting for 29% of sales in 2016, well above the nationwide 20%.
The picture in the South Island has been distinctly different. The property cycle in Christchurch was disturbed by the 2010/11 Earthquakes, with reduced stock and maintained demand through the rebuild leading to greater value growth until the end of 2013. Since then we’ve seen a far more modest growth rate (annual growth of 4.3% according to the latest QV index stats).  
Dunedin has gone through a slow-and-steady growth phase for about 18 months - similar to, but less pronounced than the growth seen in Hamilton and Tauranga. This is a direct result of lower value property and easily available credit. Dunedin’s growth has since slowed also, with the latest annual growth dropping to 11.4%, from 13.0% in October.
As we approach Christmas then, where do we sit? 
There remains a feeling of ‘surely this can’t go on forever?’ but influencing factors are strong for growth to continue throughout 2017. We’re still seeing all-time record net-migration; interest rates are still at all-time lows and this combined with a continued lack of supply (nationwide listings as well as total stock levels in Auckland) means strong competition for limited properties and therefore rising prices. There are signs of all these factors turning around but none are fast moving. The  pressure they’re creating will therefore continue in our short term future.
Interest rates have started to increase, but with the OCR projected to remain at the current rate of 1.75% for at least two years, it is unlikely that mortgage rates will rise exponentially during that period.
These record low interest rates are effectively negating the problem of high and rising prices relative to income, due to the availability of large amounts of credit. Of course, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has a particular focus on this and they have implemented multiple iterations of Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) limits to reduce the risk of a possible downturn. Each iteration has had a small and short term impact (less than 6 months) and the latest round (which limits investor lending above 60% LVR and further restricting owner occupiers above 80% LVR), looks to be having a similar impact. Debt-to-income restrictions will remain a very possible alternative for the RBNZ, should they continue to see the housing market growth as a significant risk to the economy.
Potentially rising mortgage interest rates will have an impact on some potential buyers, but not so much for those who are already in the market. We live in a country where fixed interest mortgages are the norm and that provides certainty for home owners. When their fixed rates come up for review in a few years’ time, their mortgage payments may go up, but as long as they haven’t had a massive change in personal circumstances, it’s unlikely the increase would force them to sell. 
Looking to the future becomes more a job of understanding the wider economic factors. Business and consumer confidence is currently strong, employment is very strong and we’re still seeing a net positive number of Kiwis choosing NZ over Australia. If people are positive about the future, both in terms of job security and the economy, then they will continue to invest in property if they can.
Beyond 2017 is anyone’s guess. We could have a new government, Australia could be more appealing off the back of an improving economy there, mortgage interest rates will likely have increased further and we may well have a debt-to-income restriction implemented. These are all important factors when it comes to the property market and we will continue to pay close attention to them all. 
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows that nationwide residential property values for November have increased 12.4% over the past year, which is the slowest rate since May 2016. Values rose by 2.0% over the past three months and are now 50.8% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 12.1% and values are now 27.8% above the 2007 peak. The average value nationwide is $624,675.
The Auckland market has increased 12.8% year on year which is the slowest rate since January 2015. Home values in the Super City rose by 3.7% over the past three months and are now 92.4% higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 12.6% over the past year and are 63.1% above the 2007 peak. The average value for the Auckland Region is $1,051,387. 
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “The latest QV House Price Index figures show the Queenstown District has followed the Auckland Region to post an average value over $1 million dollars, after recording a massive 32.2% rise in residential property values over the past year.”
“This comes as the latest round of LVR restrictions have led to a weaker than normal spring as a reduction in demand for investor housing stock has resulted in more subdued value growth and has seen nationwide quarterly growth to ease back to 2.0%.”
“While values continue to rise in most parts of New Zealand, the trend of a slowing rate of growth continues for Auckland, Hamilton, and Christchurch.”
“The Wellington market which had previously been very buoyant has now also started to see some of the heat coming out of the market as the new LVRs take effect there.”
“Regional centres with entry level properties under $300,000 are not seeing the same impact of the new LVRs and many continue to see strong demand and value growth including the Hawkes Bay, Rotorua, the Hauraki and Waipa Districts and Dunedin.”
“The latest CoreLogic Buyer Classification Data reveals the new LVR restrictions have not yet led to any significant decline in the share of sales going to multiple property owners; nor to investors in the Auckland market, which has remained at 43%, since they were introduced.”
“It’s too soon to tell what impact the recent earthquakes will have on property values and the brief freeze on new insurance put in place straight afterwards has now been lifted in most case subject to building inspections.”
“The recent earthquake series are a reminder that disaster can strike at any time and it is crucial for owner homers to ensure they are adequately insured.”   
Home values across the Auckland region are continuing to rise but at the slowest rate since January 2015 as new LVR restrictions take effect.
The former Auckland City Council central suburbs have increased by 11.6% over the past year and 3.6% over the past three months .The average value there is now $1,222,371. Waitakere City values were up by 13.1% year on year and 4.8% over the past three months. The average value in the Western suburbs is now $845,864. Manukau suburbs were up by 13.7% year on year and 2.8% over the past three months, the average value there in the South is now $906,004. Values in the former North Shore City suburbs also rose 12.5% year on year and a 3.5% over the past three months and the average value there is now $1,224,477. Meanwhile the Rodney District has seen the strongest growth over the past year rising 15.2% year on year and 6.2% over the past three months.
QV Auckland General Manager, Jan O’Donoghue said, “It’s a tale of two different markets in Auckland currently.”
“We are continuing to see strong demand in the $1.5 million dollars plus bracket and the new build market which is resulting in high sales prices being achieved for these properties.”
“But at the same time there’s been a significant reduction in demand for entry level investor housing stock particularly in Manukau over the past month and sales prices for this type of property have reportedly dropped back by as much as 20 to 30% on what was being achieved earlier in the year.”
“There has been a late surge of new listings coming onto the market from buyers wanting to sell prior to Christmas and this increased the sense that it’s currently more of a buyers’ market that it has been since the beginning of the year in some areas.”
“The new build and off the plan markets remain strong while demand for older apartments has eased off which may be due to investors having more difficulty raising finance to purchase them.”
“Since the US elections there have been reports of higher buyer inquiry from foreigners looking to relocate to New Zealand and also Kiwis living abroad looking to return to New Zealand.”
Home values across Hamilton City have risen 23.1% year on year and 3.5% over the past three months and values there are now 48.4% above the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $536,565.
QV homevalue Hamilton Valuer, Stephen Hare said, “The recent LVR restrictions appear to have taken some of the heat of the Hamilton housing market and we are now seeing the results of a slowdown in demand.”
“Demand is still there for well-priced and well maintained Hamilton properties, however any that are priced too high or have any issues are tending not to sell nearly as easily in the current market as they would have earlier in the year.”
“While many properties are still going to auction a larger proportion are being passed in and then are usually being sold shortly after by negotiation, often below the vendor’s reserve.”
“As time goes on more and more properties are being listed by expressions of interest, negotiation and with a price, rather than by auction given the lower auction clearance rates.”
“In the regions, there is still good demand for Cambridge and Te Awamutu residential properties but the trend is similar to Hamilton where properties with issues or where the vendor’s price expectations are too high are taking longer to sell.”
“The Hauraki District has seen a surge in demand with buyers from Hamilton and Auckland as the towns in the area offer a lower value base.”
“Sections in Ngatea are selling quickly with first home buyers and commuters attracted to the smaller rural service town for its schooling (Hauraki Plains College) and proximity to Hamilton and Auckland.
“There are very few listings in the Hauraki District currently and supply is unable to keep up with high levels of demand from buyers.”
The Tauranga market continues to rise, with home values in Tauranga City up by 26.5% year on year and 5.0% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $665,155. Western Bay of Plenty home values have risen a massive 30.5% over the past year and 6.0% over the past three months alone. The average value in the district is now $591,202.
QV homevalue Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “Tauranga properties in the $700,000 -$1,000,000 price bracket still showing very good demand as are the higher value properties in the plus $1.5 million bracket.”
“Lifestyle properties are continuing to show good demand as they are perceived as being better value for money in comparison to the strong Tauranga property market.”
“There is a noticeable decrease in demand from less established “Mum and Dad” local investors who can no longer raise finance under the new LVR rules and they are now locked out of the market. However, there are reports the new rules are not impacting on local or foreign cash investors who are still actively purchasing properties, and are not impacted as they don’t need to raise finance.”
The QV House Price Index for the wider Wellington region shows home values rose 20.6% year on year and 5.5% over the past three months and values are now 24.1% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region there is now $565,631.
QV homevalue Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “While strong demand across the Wellington market continues to lead to value growth and strong sale prices, the market is slightly less buoyant than it was.”
“Some sales were frozen mid settlement after the recent earthquakes as insurers refused to roll over cover on properties from vendor to buyer.”
“Most insurers are refusing to offer new cover to buyers until they can provide a new builders report completed after the earthquakes which means a number of deals have been stalled. It seems to be business as usual now, providing a builders report has been sighted.”
“The recent earthquake series are a reminder that disaster can strike at any time and it is crucial for owner homers to ensure they are adequately insured.”   
“The number of properties listed for sale on the market remains relatively low however there has been a late spring surge of new listings recently.”
“First home buyers are active and are filling most gaps left by some investors who have been taken out of the market due to new LVR restrictions and changes to lending rules.”
“Open homes are well attended however there have been reports that they are attracting less attention since the implementation of LVR restrictions.”
“We have seen strong demand for new builds and off the plan purchasers, particularly in Churton Park, Whitby and Aotea and there has been a noticeable increase in requests for construction valuations which may be aided by the lower deposit rules for new builds.”
“In the wider region, the market remains very buoyant in Kapiti with most sales selling well.”
“The key drivers are a shortage of housing stock which has plagued the region for some time, increasing number of buyers from outside the region seeing Kapiti as a viable alternative to Wellington, the climate/beach atmosphere, and nearing completion of the expressway.”
“Most agents are reluctant to price properties and most transactions are occurring through the tender or auction process. This is resulting in a high number of sales well above expectations.”
“Wairarapa values are increasing however at a slower rate compared to Wellington. There is a lack of listings on the market and agents are struggling to find new listings there currently.”
Home values in Christchurch City increased 4.3% year on year and 1.7% over the past three months and they are now 32.1% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city has now ticked over half a million dollars and is $501,229.  
“QV homevalue Christchurch, Registered Valuer Damian Kennedy said, “The Christchurch housing  market has been quieter than normal for spring and sales volumes are lower than usual for this time of the year.
While there have been some new listings coming onto the market, there has been a reduction in buyer demand since the new LVR restrictions took effect and it’s likely they have taken some investors out of the market.”
The latest CoreLogic Buyer Classification data shows the number of investors in the Christchurch market has decreased since the new LVR restrictions were announced in late July and there’s also been a reduction in the number of Auckland investors present in the market.”
“After the Kaikoura earthquake there was a freeze put on new insurance and while this has been lifted some insurers are requiring building inspections to be completed before transferring insurance from sellers to buyers, which is required to complete a sales transaction.”
Dunedin city home values have risen 11.4% year on year and 2.3% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $341,604.
QV homevalue Dunedin Registered Valuer, Duncan Jack said, “Value levels are continuing on a steady upward trajectory.”
“Residential properties are continuing to sell extremely quickly particularly for those priced within the lower to mid value ranges but the higher ranges are also selling faster than they have done in recent years.”
“There are reports of properties selling within a day or two of being listed and there continues to be fierce competition from buyers and this continues to drive the strong levels of demand and increasing value levels.”
“Any slowdown in market activity and value growth nationally caused by the recent LVR restrictions on investors is not yet apparent in the Dunedin housing market.”
“Any suburbs with a good proportion of low to mid value housing stock are experiencing particularly strong activity for example Green Island, Abbotsford, Wakari and Halfway Bush. All suburbs however are receiving strong interest from buyers."
Hawkes Bay
Napier home values continued to see strong growth rising 20.5% year on year and 5.7% over the past three months. The average value in the city has not topped $400,000 and is sitting at $408,509. Hastings values rose 18.1% year on year and 4.3% over the past three months. The average value there is now $375,175.
QV homevalue Hawkes Bay Registered Valuer Bevan Pickett said, “The Hawkes Bay housing market is still experiencing strong market activity and value growth across all price brackets driven by high demand and a lack of supply.”
“We have seen a late spring flurry of listings coming onto the market from people keen to sell their properties in before Christmas and it appears some vendors may be concerned the market may cool in the New Year so want to sell now.”
“The owner occupier market is strong, and the latest CoreLogic buyer classification data shows an increasing share of sales going to those moving home and also to first home buyers.”
“There’s also been a slight increase in the percentage of sales going to Auckland investors, while the share of sales to local and other investors has dipped slightly since the new LVR restrictions on investors were announced in late July.”
Nelson home values have increased by 15.4% year on year and 3.3% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $489,338.  The Tasman District also increased by 12.2% over the past year and 5.1% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $487,011.
QV homevalue Nelson Valuer Hayley Dabinette said, “The Nelson and Tasman housing markets are continuing to see strong levels of activity and demand.”
“However the recent LVR changes for investors appears to have taken some of the heat out of the investment property market and there are reports that some buyers are finding it harder to secure finance with banks tightening their lending restrictions.”
“There‘s been a late Spring surge of listings coming onto the market in Nelson this month with 229 properties listed on the market, compared with only 175 at the start of the month.”
“Despite this there’s still strong competition and the majority of listings are receiving multiple offers and in turn are selling for good prices. We have noted several examples of properties selling within a week of being listed and cancelled open homes as a result.”
“There is currently very strong demand for vacant sites with many prospective buyers wishing to build their own house given the more relaxed lending and lower deposits required for new builds compared with existing, established properties.”
“However, there very few new vacant sites coming onto the market as it is common for developers and/or housing companies to buy most of the sections in a new subdivision and sell them as house and land packages.”
“Those sites that have come onto the market recently, and in particular in Richmond, have sold out very quickly with many hopeful buyers missing out.”
“The majority of all new subdivisions in the region have long waiting lists of buyers hoping to secure a section once they are released. This particular trend is in turn increasing the demand for newly built homes and thus, driving up prices."
“There’s also been an increase in demand and price for higher value new homes in particular, 4 bedrooms executive homes in Richmond and in the last few months a number of record sales have taken place in the mid $700’000s through to $900,000.”
In regards to the Kaikoura earthquake, the majority of insurance companies placed a temporary four-day freeze on new insurance. We understand this was lifted by most insurance companies on November 18 for houses pre-insured by the vendor.
New insurance may still be subject to a building insurance report and confirmation of no earthquake damage to the property.
We strongly recommend that sellers contact their insurance companies to confirm their insurer’s stance in relation to their particular property so that they can pass on the correct information to prospective buyers.
Other Provincial centres
In the North Island, once again all areas seeing residential property values increase over the past year.
Rotorua District continued to see strong value growth rising 27.7% year on year and 7.2% over the past three months and the nearby Kawerau District saw values rise 52.9% year on year and 3.9% over the past three months but comes off a low base with an average value still of only $158,602 making it one of the cheapest places in New Zealand to purchase a home. 
In the South Island, the stand-out performing was the Queenstown Lakes District where values rose 32.2% year on year and 7.5% over the past three months and the average value has now topped $1 million dollars. The Mackenzie District saw values rise 20.1% year on year and 10.4% over the past three months. While the Grey District was the only place to see values decrease over the past year down 2.1% and values there are now 15.0% below the previous peak of 2007


The 2016 rating revaluation shows the overall value of Christchurch property has risen by 9.2 per cent since the last general revaluation in 2013.
Christchurch City Council contracted independent valuer Quotable Value (QV) to carry out the revaluation of 167,857 city and Banks Peninsula properties this year. Councils must undertake a general rating revaluation of all properties every three years so rates are spread fairly.
Rating Values, (also called Capital Values) are used to work out who pays what portion of the City’s total rates. The new rating values reflect a property’s estimated market value (less chattels) as at 1 August 2016 and will apply to rates from 1 July 2017. 
Residential property has risen 7.3 per cent. Average rating values are now at $529,000 for houses and $265,000 for residential sections. Suburbs showing the highest increase in values are Somerfield, Spreydon, Upper Riccarton, Sockburn and Fendalton. 
The overall value of commercial properties has increased 8.5 per cent over the past three years, with a corresponding land value increase of 13.7 per cent. While overall industrial properties have seen an increase of 13.4 per cent, with a corresponding land value increase of 14.8 per cent. Commercial and industrial properties in parts of the central city have seen the highest value growth since 2013.
“The Christchurch property market has seen the rate of value growth slow over 2015/2016 as the rebuild has seen supply meet demand. The market is generally functioning well with clear indications of market trends,” says QV National Revaluation Manager Gail Smits. 
Rating valuations are done using a mass-appraisal approach, taking into account recent sales of similar properties and establishing a market trend that is applied to similar properties in the area. 
Individual property inspections for new building consent work, subdivisions, objections, and ratepayer requests to have their rating values updated, add to the process. 
The updated rating valuations are independently audited by the Office of the Valuer General, and need to meet rigorous quality standards before the new rating valuations are certified.
“We’re keen to make sure people realise that Rating Values do not affect the total rates collected by the Council, which are set through the Council’s Annual Plan. Rating Values do influence how much of this total is collected from each ratepayer,” says the Council’s Acting Chief Financial Officer Diane Brandish. 
The last general revaluation was done in 2013, when the Government passed a special Order in Council to value Christchurch properties as if the earthquakes had not damaged them.
This time QV followed the standard rating revaluation legislation, which meant unrepaired earthquake damage was taken into account. About 4,040 properties with unrepaired earthquake damage were identified. 
It’s important to remember that while a rating valuation should reflect the likely price a property would sell for at the effective date of the rating revaluation (in this case 1 August 2016), they are not designed to be used as a current market valuation of your property. Current market valuations require an individual inspection of a property and full written report by a Registered Valuer and can be provided to banks for use in raising finance or for other legal purposes. These are a different type of valuation to a rating valuation.
The new rating values go live on the Council’s website by 4pm today and property owners will be sent letters from 2 December with their new valuations.
If property owners don’t agree with their updated rating value or believe damage to their property is not reflected in their new rating valuation, they have the right to object. The objection close-off date is 31 January 2017, and objections can be lodged online at or call 0800 787 284 to request an objection form.