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The latest monthly QV house price index confirms that values are continuing to drop in Auckland and Hamilton, and their rate of increase has slowed considerably in most other areas around NZ.
 
 
Delving into those index figures though, what’s really going on? And can history teach us anything? The reported drop or slowdown is reflected in the chart below. This shows the average value of the housing stock in our six main centres (based on the house price index) from 2003 to the present.
 
 
Over the past 14 years we have seen values rise to a peak in 2007, before the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) knocked them back for a year or so. Values rebounded in most main centres during 2010, then remained flat for several years before rising in Auckland from 2012 and elsewhere from 2015. Lending restrictions were first imposed by the Reserve Bank in 2013, more were added in late 2015, and the latest round introduced in late 2016. These most recent restrictions (announced by the Reserve Bank in July and in full effect by October) seem to have taken some of the former heat out of rising values.
 
Looking at each of the six main centres in detail reveals some interesting differences: 
 
Auckland
In Auckland, the average value of housing stock reached a new peak of just over $1.05m in November 2016. Since then, the average value of a dwelling has dropped by just under $8k, or 0.7%.
 
 
This dip in values is in stark contrast to the rise of $118k or 13.6% in the 9 months before that November peak. It looks very similar to what we saw in early 2016, when a previous round of LVR restrictions saw values in Auckland drop by 0.8% over the course of two months, before then taking off again.
 
Much of the dip in values can be attributed to the LVR restrictions making it more difficult for people, especially investors, to secure mortgages. The big banks have also tightened up their lending criteria.
 
Against all this we’ve got strong net migration, high consumer confidence, mortgage interest rates at historic lows, plus a persistent housing shortage in Auckland. It’s hard to see how values can drop much further. Our call is that it’s likely that values will begin to rise again in a few months, just like they did in response to the previous round of restrictions. This time though - the rate of increase will likely be much less.
 
Hamilton
Just like Auckland, values in Hamilton have been dropping in recent months. The average value of housing stock in Hamilton peaked in October last year at $537k, and has since dropped 1% or just over $5k.
 
 
That’s a huge turn-around when you consider that values in the year to October last year increased by a staggering 25%, or $108k.
 
Some of the cooling in Hamilton is likely to be due to a decline in the number of Auckland investors purchasing in Hamilton. CoreLogic’s analysis shows that a year ago those Auckland investors were making up 18% of all the sales in Hamilton, but by January that had dropped to 10%. The huge increase in Hamilton values made the investment less compelling compared to a year earlier, and the tightening of lending to those investors will also have curbed their ability to purchase, even if they wanted to. Our analysis also showed that those Auckland investors tended to pay a significant premium compared to other buyers, so with their activity dropping it is no surprise at all to see Hamilton values ease back a little.
 
Tauranga
The average value of housing in Tauranga reached just over $672k in December 2016. In the previous year it had risen a hefty 24%, or $130k. In the past two months that rapid increase has disappeared, with values flat during that time.
 
 
Our CoreLogic weekly buyer demand data shows that this time of the year is much weaker than it should be: clear evidence that the lending restrictions are knocking a significant number of potential buyers out of the market.
 
A drop in demand would normally translate into falling values, so expect the next few months to remain weak.
 
Wellington
The lending restrictions are not yet having a major influence on values in Wellington.
 
In the three months to February 2017 the average value of housing stock across Wellington increased by 4.3%, or $24k, to $590k. In the three months to September 2016 this was increasing much faster at 7.1%. 
 
 
The lending restrictions have therefore slowed the increase slightly but not yet to the extent that we are seeing values dropping like we are further north.
 
Our analysis at CoreLogic shows that first home buyers are increasingly active in the Wellington region, particularly a little further out from Wellington City in Porirua and the Hutt Valley.
 
Buyer demand is also at record high levels in Wellington but the number of properties listed for sale has dramatically dropped compared to this time last year.  It all adds up to continued upward pressure on Wellington prices.
 
Christchurch
Following the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 in Christchurch, there was a shortage of housing supply. This led to values increasing from early 2012 to late 2014 at a time when Auckland was the only other part of the country increasing significantly in value.
 
   
From 2014 on, values in Christchurch have increased at a very slow pace, around 3% to 4% per year. It was the only main centre to not increase rapidly during the second half of 2015 and 2016, probably as a result of the post-earthquake increases of 2012 to 2014.
 
In the past three months, Christchurch values have dropped by 0.5% or $2,500 from their November value of $501k.
The CoreLogic weekly data shows that buyer demand continued to drop since the LVR restrictions were announced in July 2016. A normal seasonal pattern would see demand much higher at this time of the year. This drop would suggest that values may stay flat or dip slightly over coming months.
 
Dunedin
Like the other main centres, it appears as if values in Dunedin are not increasing as quickly as they were during 2016, when they grew by $52k, or $1,000 per week, to reach $354k in December.
 
In the past month, Dunedin values have hardly increased at all. Too early to call it a lasting trend, but interesting to note that while buyer demand was exceptionally strong throughout January 2017, there was a significant decline in February. That could be due to the announcement of the impending closure of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin. That drop in demand will likely flow through to fewer sales and less upward pressure on Dunedin prices.
 
 
 
So, that’s your property history lesson for this week. As you can see the strong increases in value evident throughout 2016 seem to have come to an end. However history also tells us that intervention in the form of lending restrictions tend to have only a temporary impact.
 
We are having a general election in September this year. While elections in themselves don’t always cause alarm amongst home owners, the potential for a change in Government to one with differing views on housing policy may do. As a result we expect considerable uncertainty in the market until the dust settles on the election.
 
It is also likely that when next summer rolls around, the strong upward forces of high migration, low interest rates, and a housing shortage will once again lead to increasing prices. Just expect winter to be quiet.
 
 
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows that nationwide residential property values for February increased 13.5% over the past year. Values rose by 1.1% over the past three months and the average value nationwide is $631,349. The nationwide average value is now 52.4% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 12.0% and values are now 28.5% above the 2007 peak.
 
Residential property values across the Auckland Region increased 12.8% year on year and quarterly growth has decreased by 0.7% over the past three months. The average value for the Auckland Region is now $1,043,680 and values are now on average 91.0% higher than the previouspeak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 11.3% over the past year and are 61.0% above the 2007 peak.
 
The full set of QV House Price Index statistics for all New Zealand for February can be downloaded by clicking this link: QV House Price Index (HPI) for February 2017
 
 
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “The latest QV House Price Index figures show values have dropped over the past quarter in parts of Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch and rate of value growth in Tauranga has also slowed as the latest round of LVR restrictions continue to take effect.”
 
“Meanwhile, values in the Wellington region continue to accelerate with values up more than 21.0% over the past year and 4.3% over the past quarter.”
 
“The Dunedin market also remains buoyant, with strong levels of activity and demand and continued steady value growth.”
 
 “While parts of Auckland have seen values drop values continue to rise in central Auckland, Waiheke Island and in Rodney and Franklin.
 
 “The same trend of negative growth was seen in parts of the Auckland market this time last year following the introduction of the 30.0% LVR rules for investors introduced in October 2015, then value began increasing again by April 2016.”
 
“So it’s possible the latest quarterly decrease seen in parts of the Auckland will be relatively short-lived as the market drivers of relatively low interest rates, strong net migration and a high number of sales to investors remain.”
 
Auckland
Home values have risen over the past three months in some parts of the Auckland region but have decreased in others as the latest round of LVR restrictions take effect.
 
The former Auckland City Council central suburbs rose 12.5% over the past year and 0.2% over the past three months with the average value now $1,224,673. Waitakere City values were up by 13.8% year on year but decreased 1.7% since December, with the average value dropping from $845,864 to $831,705. Values in the former Manukau city area rose 14.2% year on year but decreased slightly by 0.4% since December, with the average value down from $906,004 to $902,477. Values in the former North Shore City suburbs also rose 11.2% year on year but decreased 2.2% over the past three months from an average value of $1,224,477 in December to $1,196,987.
 
Rodney is still increasing with values there up 13.6% year on year and 1.4% over the past three months and the average value is $936,877. Franklin is also up 13.3% year on year and 2.4% since December and it has an average value of $663,638. Papakura values also increased 13.6% year on year and 0.9% over the past three months and the average there is now $686,465.
 
QV Auckland homevalue Manager, James Steele said, “There continues to be uncertainty around where home values are going and there has also been a surge in listings coming onto the market during February which is giving buyers more choice.”
 
“Properties at the lower end of the market in suburbs popular with investors tend to be not selling for the same premiums they were before the new LVRs came in.”
 
“However, there are some record sales prices still being achieved and there remains strong competition for homes in areas popular with both first home buyers, movers and investors not affected by the new loan to value ratio rules.”
 
“Building costs are also reported to be rising due to high demand leading to an increase in the price of some materials including timber framing, roofing, and steel. High demand for builders and trades people is also leading to lack of availability which is also slowing build time process and leading to higher costs.”
 
“Some investors, who have been taking a wait and see approach since the latest round of LVR restrictions, have reportedly started looking again to see areas where they may get a bargain.”
 
“Meanwhile, the latest CoreLogic Buyer Classification sales data showing the share of sales to Auckland first home buyers has dropped to a low of 19.0%, while the share of sales to Auckland investors has climbed back to the peak of 43.0% over the last month.”
 
“Some Auckland first home buyers are reporting having more difficulty raising finance due to stricter lending criteria.”
 
Hamilton  
Hamilton home values have risen 16.7% year on year but have continued the downward trend seen recently dropping slightly by 0.8% over the past three months and values in the city are now 47.2% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the Hamilton is now $532,171.
 
QV homevalue valuer, Stephen Hare said, “There is still good activity and demand in the Hamilton market and there have been more listings coming onto the market during February.”
 
“Properties in the $400,000 to $500,000 range have become a rarity and are attracting strong demand first home buyers who are snapping them up very quickly.”
 
“There also continues to be strong interest for new builds in the suburbs of Flagstaff North and Rototuna.
 
“In the nearby Waipa District, Cambridge is continuing to see strong demand for homes with high turnouts at open homes and mid-range homes in the town are now selling for between $500,000 and $600,000.  Sales ‘by negotiation’ are becoming the favoured way to sell in the current market rather than auctions which were more popular last year.”
 
“While other Waipa towns such as Te Awamutu continue to see good demand but are not as hot as Cambridge.”
 
“Towns that are in commutable distance to Hamilton, like Ngaruawahia, Raglan and Morrinsville are still experiencing good demand, mostly from first home buyers and some investors, but not as many as prior to the latest round of LVR restrictions.”
 
Tauranga
The Tauranga market continues to rise but at a slightly slower rate than prior to the LVR restrictions introduced late last year. Home values in Tauranga City up by 19.4% year on year and 1.3% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $673,923. Meanwhile, the Western Bay of Plenty values there rose20.1 % year on year but decreased by 1.6% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $581,540.
 
QV homevalue Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “The Tauranga market is off to a fairly robust start in 2017, although sales volumes are down on record levels this time last year.”
 
“The market for high end properties is showing signs of good growth over the last six months with Auckland buyers making up a good portion of demand.”
 
“Even with the new LVR restrictions out of town investors are still active in Tauranga given the more attractive yields to some other major centres.”
 
“Rental accommodation continues to be to in short supply with the median rental now at $450 up from $350 two years ago.”
 
Wellington   
The QV House Price Index for the wider Wellington Region continue to rise with home values up 21.5% year on year and 4.3% over the past three months and values are now 29.4% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region there is now $589,784. Upper Hutt values jumped 25.5% year on year and 6.3% over the past three months. Lower Hutt values were also up a huge 25.0% year on year and 5.8% since December.
 
QV homevalue Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “Buyer demand remains strong in the Wellington market with values still increasing, but at a more steady rate.”
 
“The market is less frantic than it was prior to the latest round of LVR restrictions, with fewer investors active in the market and buyers are taking a more measured approach.
 
First home buyers who are not affected by the new rules remain very active and according to the CoreLogic Buyer Classification data this group accounts for more than 30% of sales in the Wellington region currently.
 
“Upper Hutt continues to see strong demand from first home buyers and this is leading to continued strong value growth there.”
 
“New listings have continued to come to the market, as is typical for this time of year however there is still a shortage of available stock.”
 
“The Kapiti market is also still buoyant with strong activity and demand for housing on the coast resulting in a rapid rise in home values over the past year although the rate of increase appears to have stabilised recently.”
 
“ In Kapiti there are strong turnouts at open homes and many properties are selling quickly with multiple offers.”
 
“Currently the supply of properties for sale is not keeping up with demand and we can expect this imbalance to continue for some time as more people move into the region as transport links continue to improve.”
 
Christchurch 
Home values in Christchurch City increased 2.8% year on year and have decreased slightly by 0.5% over the past three months and they are now 31.4% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $498,710.
 
QV homevalue Christchurch, Registered Valuer Daryl Taggart said, “The Christchurch market is showing normal levels of activity but with the supply of homes meeting demand, there is nothing driving value growth so home values are currently relatively steady.”
 
“Well-presented properties in desirable locations that are marketed for the right price are selling quickly and continue to be in strong demand.”
 
“Some investors have been ruled out of the market now it’s harder to gain finance following the latest round of LVR restrictions particularly now rents are lower than they were during the height of the rebuild.”
 
“However, there are still established investors with the means and ability to purchase in this market.”
 
Dunedin
The Dunedin market continues to be buoyant with city home values rising 15.6% year on year and a 5.3% over the past three months. Dunedin remains the most affordable city in New Zealand with an average value of $359,629. Dunedin-Coastal saw the highest growth over the past quarter with values there rising 6.9 % since December.
 
QV homevalue Dunedin Registered Valuer, Duncan Jack said, “Buyers are still very active and there is good demand across all the value ranges in the Dunedin housing market with the low-mid range still being the most active.”
 
“Properties continue to sell very quickly with fierce competition from buyers, who are putting their best offer forward in the first instance.”
 
“Listing levels remain relatively low and appear to be fairly consistent with previous months.”
 
“The listing levels may well be partially affected by the quick turnover of stock and it certainly appears that demand is exceeding supply in the local market”  
 
“The Christmas slow-down in the market was less significant this year compared to previous years.”
 
“Value levels are continuing to increase in the low to mid ranges.  In the upper ranges, demand is still good but there hasn’t been the same notable value increases at this end of the market that we have seen for the low to mid-range properties.”
 
Nelson
Nelson home values have increased by 16.9% year on year and 5.0% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $513,933.  Values continue to rise in the Tasman District up 15.2% year on year and 2.9% over the past three months. The average value in the district has now topped half a million dollars and is sitting at $501,153.
 
QV homevalue Nelson Registered Valuer Craig Russell said, “Activity in the market has increased considerably in recent weeks after low sales volumes recorded over the January holiday period.”
 
“There has been a steady stream of new listings come onto the market during February and the market remains buoyant.”
 
“Investor activity appears to have cooled slightly given an upwards creep in interest rates, tighter lending restrictions, the new 40% deposit rules and increased values all combining to provide weakening returns for investors.”
 
“We have seen an increase in section values in Motueka with strong demand and a lack of sections available. Lifestyle properties particularly on the Waimea Plains have been sought after given they are easy contoured and are located in close proximity to amenities in nearby Richmond.”
 
Hawkes Bay
The rate of value growth in Napier has slowed a little, rising 18.8% year on year and 2.6% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $419,190. The Hastings market continues to see strong value growth up 21.7% year on year and 5.8% over the past three months. The average value there is now $397,013.
 
QV homevalue Hawkes Bay Registered Valuer Michelle Drinkrow said, “The market is ticking along nicely and there are more properties on the market than there has been with some vendors holding out for top price expectations.”
 
“However, we have noticed some of the heat has come out of the market and buyers are not as frenzied as they were last year. 
 
“While properties are still selling for good prices, buyers are acting in a calmer manner and are taking more time to perform due diligence in many instances.”
 
“Auctions and tenders remain the most popular methods of sale and both investors and first home buyers appear to still be active in the lower end of the market.”
 
“The demand for vacant land remains strong, with a shortage of available land in the main centres.  Buyers looking for house and land packages in the region of $500,000 are generally not first home buyers and are movers looking to upgrade.”
 
Provincial centres
In the North Island, the regions to see the highest percentage value growth over the past three months were the Kaipara, Far North, Rangitikei and Kawerau districts with values in these areas rising more than 8.0% over the past three months. The only regions where values dropped in value over the past quarter were the Western Bay of Plenty, Stratford and South Taranaki.
 
In the South Island, the MacKenzie District saw values jump 9.0% over the past three months, while Central Otago was up 7.8% and Southland was up 6.9% over the last quarter. Values decreased over the past three months in the West Coast districts of Buller, Grey and Westland, as well as in Ashburton and Waimate.
 

The latest QV monthly house price index has just been released. I’m looking for any signs that the latest round of lending restrictions have begun to impact values. After all, you might expect that dramatically limiting people’s ability to get a mortgage would mean fewer people competing for properties and so the rate of value increase would slow, or even drop.

 

First of all it is worthwhile taking a look at the table below to see how much values have increased over the past year, and where that now leaves the average value of houses in each centre.

Now to look at whether things have changed in recent months. I always find something visual easier to interpret than tables of numbers, or screeds of words. Here then (below) are two maps of New Zealand showing value change over the past six months based on the monthly index.

The right hand map shows the value change over the latest three months. The left hand map shows the increase in the three months to October 2016. On both maps the larger the bubble, the more sales in that area. The colour range goes from brown being fastest increase, through orange for moderate increase, grey is flat, and blue is decrease. Both maps have the same colour scale meaning that if a colour changes from one map to the other it represents either a speeding up or slowing down.


The first thing I notice is the colour change in the Auckland area. Back in October the bubbles were dark orange to brown, showing relatively rapid increases in value. In the latest three months there is far more grey and light orange. The rate of value increase has therefore slowed or even flattened in Auckland. Likewise in Hamilton, Tauranga, the lower North Island and Christchurch.

There is still strength in the smaller centres in the Far North and Waikato, while there are a few smaller centres in the North Island dropping in value. New Plymouth, Whanganui, Napier and Nelson are all unchanged, while Dunedin and Invercargill have actually slightly picked up the pace.

My conclusion is therefore that there has definitely been an impact on the larger North Island centres. The investor restrictions are starting to bite in Auckland, and on Auckland purchasers in Hamilton and Tauranga. Of course the big question is whether this is the beginning of a big crash or the bursting of the bubble. I think not. My opinion is that within a few months potential purchasers will find ways around the lending restrictions, then low interest rates, high migration and a housing shortage will push values upwards again.

For more insights into various other measures of the housing market, check out CoreLogic's latest monthly property and economic update video.

 

New Zealand Regional Maps:
 
 
The latest monthly QV House Price Index shows that nationwide residential property values for January increased 13.5% over the past year. Values rose by 1.4% over the past three months and the average value nationwide is $631,302. The nationwide average value is now 52.4% above the previous market peak of late 2007. When adjusted for inflation the nationwide annual increase drops slightly to 12.0% and values are now 28.5% above the 2007 peak.
 
The Auckland market has increased 12.8% year on year and quarterly growth eased back to just 0.2% over the past three months. The average value for the Auckland Region is $1,047,699.
 
Residential property values in the wider Auckland region are now 91.7% higher than the previous peak of 2007.  When adjusted for inflation values rose 11.3% over the past year and are 61.6% above the 2007 peak.
 
 
QV National Spokesperson Andrea Rush said, “The latest QV House Price Index figures show value growth in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch continues to ease and in some parts of these cities quarterly value growth is now decreasing.
 
“Values continue to rise in Tauranga, Wellington and Dunedin amidst relatively buoyant market conditions compared to the other main centres.”
 
“We are now seeing a strong trend of value growth in regional centres around the country, particularly those situated within two to three hours’ drive of the main centres that have seen very strong value growth recently such as Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.”
 
“These include the Kaipara District just north of Auckland where values accelerated 6.4% over the past three months and 25.9% since January last year led by strong growth in places like Mangawhai now a favourite for those who are selling up and moving out of Auckland.”
 
“Similarly the Hauraki District south of Auckland and also commuting distance to Hamilton and Tauranga accelerated 10.8% over the past three months and 30.3% year on year with towns like Paeroa and Ngatea in high demand from movers and investors alike.”
 
“Values in regions near Wellington such as the Kapiti Coast, Horowhenua and the South Wairarapa have also risen between 5.0 and 7.0% since November, as those priced out of the Wellington market look further out for affordable property.”
 
“The MacKenzie District in the South Island has jumped 9.7% since November and 26.9% year on year as those priced out of the Queenstown, Wanaka and the surrounds look to places like Tekapo and Twizel for lakeside property.”
 
“It’s possible rising mortgage interest rates and the new LVR rules will continue to constrain the rate of value growth during 2017. However, this will be balanced by continued record high net migration and a lack of housing supply particularly in Auckland. As well as the fact New Zealand property can be brought freehold and has fewer taxes on property compared with many other countries, meaning it remains a highly attractive investment to foreign buyers.”
 
Auckland
QV Auckland homevalue Manager, James Steele said, “The Franklin District has seen the strongest growth in the Auckland region over the past quarter with values rising by 2.9% since November as buyers look further out to find more affordable property.”
 
“Places such as Waiuku, Pukekohe and coastal areas south of Clevedon are experiencing strong demand and value increases due to higher demand from investors and home buyers alike.”
 
“There still is a high demand in this area for new build dwellings with both land and house packages, and design and build packages happening within the new developments of Pukukohe, Patumahoe, Waiau Pa and Kingseat.”
 
“There’s been a similar trend north of Auckland with the Rodney- North seeing the strongest growth in the Auckland region over the past year – up by 14.5% year on year. This has been driven by stronger demand in places like Wellsford, Warkworth, Matakana and surrounding areas.
 
“However, quarterly value growth there has eased from 3.6% quarterly growth last month to 1.6% quarterly growth this month most likely due to the impact of the LVR restrictions.”
 
“Meanwhile, the Waitakere city, North Shore and Manukau housing markets have been slow going with vendors having to adjust their price expectations down to sell and open home attendances have been slow from November through January.” 
 
“It appears people may be taking a wait and see approach until after Waitangi weekend when people are back to it and it appears people aren’t willing or able with new loan restrictions to pay the premiums that they were in the first half of 2016.”
 
Hamilton  
Hamilton home values have decreased 1.1% over the past three months however values are 18.6% higher year on year and 47.0% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $531,337.
 
QV homevalue valuer, Stephen Hare said, ““The Hamilton market has experienced a typical seasonal low over the Christmas period and values have levelled out.”
 
“We continue to see two-tiers in the Hamilton City housing market with properties above $550,000 continuing to attract buyers and those below $550,000 failing to sell at auction and taking longer to sell.”
 
“This is due to investors not being as active in the market since the introduction of the new LVR restrictions late last year. This means there is less competition for first home buyers and as a result they are becoming more active in the market.”
 
“A higher proportion are of properties are being passed in at auctions and this is leading to more being sold with expressions of interest, by negotiation and or with an asking price.”
 
Tauranga
The Tauranga market continues to rise but at a slightly slower rate than prior to the LVR restrictions introduced late last year. Home values in Tauranga City up by 20.7% year on year. The average value in the city is now $672,752.
 
Meanwhile, the Western Bay of Plenty values there rose 21.1% in the year since January 2016. The average value in the district is now $575,089.
 
QV homevalue Tauranga, Registered Valuer, David Hume said, “It appears 2017 has gotten off to a solid start in the housing market with improved attendance at open homes and a number of acceptable pre auction offers now people have returned from holiday.”
 
“While the Western Bay of Plenty popular beachside location along Pukehina Parade has seen exceptional growth over the last six months with older holiday baches on half sites now selling for $350,000 to $400,000 up from $250,000 12 months ago.”
 
Wellington   
The QV House Price Index for the wider Wellington Region shows home values rose 20.6% year on year and 4.2% over the past three months and values are now 27.8% higher than in the previous peak of 2007. The average value across the wider region there is now $582,322.
 
Upper Hutt has seen the strongest growth with values there rising 23.8% year on year and 6.9% over the past three months. Values have also accelerated in Horowhenua and on the Kapiti Coast since November rising 7.2% and 5.4% respectively.
 
QV homevalue Registered Valuer, David Cornford said, “Since Wellington anniversary weekend fresh listings have started coming to the market and this is likely to increase over February and March which are typically busy months in the market.”
 
“First home buyer activity has surged to record high levels at 30% of all sales in the Capital.”
 
 “Positive net migration into Wellington, relatively low interest rates and a continued shortage of listings supply on the market are all factors which indicate the Wellington property market is likely to continue to perform well in 2017.
 
“Rising house prices and strong demand for property has led to a shortage of rental stock in Wellington and rents have surged around 10% over the last year. It’s not uncommon to have 20 plus groups inspect a rental property and many landlords are asking applicants to submit a highest bid as part of the application process.”
 
“Given market conditions and the current rent squeeze, it’s likely that Wellington rents will increase further over the next few months.”
 
Christchurch 
Home values in Christchurch City increased 2.8% in the year since January 2016 but have decreased slightly by 0.2% over the past three months and they are now 31.1% higher than the previous peak of 2007. The average value in the city is now $497,539 
 
“QV homevalue Christchurch, Registered Valuer Damian Kennedy said, “The Christchurch market has rebounded in activity in the last couple of weeks of January after a slow lead up to Christmas which is now being seen in the latest statistics.
 
“Listings and activity have picked-up significantly over the past couple of weeks as people come back from holiday.”
 
“First home buyers are active in the eastern suburbs with less competition from investors following the introduction of the LVR restrictions late last year.”
 
Dunedin 
Dunedin city home values continue to rise steadily. Up 15.5% year on year and a strong 5.1% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $359,055. Dunedin-Taieri saw the strongest growth with values up 17.5% year on year and 6.0% since November.
 
QV homevalue Dunedin Registered Valuer, Duncan Jack said, “The Dunedin market continues to see values rising with the trends of recent months continuing.”
 
“The market remains buoyant with strong competition from buyers. The market is certainly more active for the Christmas season than it has been for some years and we have not experienced the usual seasonal slowdown over the holiday period.”
 
“The levels of listings in Dunedin appear to be fairly constant. The turnover of sales is quick with very short listing periods.” 
 
“Buyers and sellers in the Dunedin market are definitely in action with anecdotal evidence suggesting that activity continued right through the holiday period. The market experienced very little if any slowdown during this time.”
 
Nelson
Nelson home values have increased by 16.4% year on year and 5.0% over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $508,343.  The Tasman District also increased by 14.2% over the past year and 2.6% over the past three months. The average value in the district is now $498,111.
 
QV homevalue Nelson Registered Valuer Craig Russell said, “There has been strong market activity to start the year with good numbers at open homes and multiple offers presented in some circumstances.”
 
“Demand continues to exceed supply in the residential property market and low listings levels are contributing to competition amongst buyers and driving prices up.”
 
“Easy contoured vacant sections in close proximity to good schooling have been highly sought after which is leading to an increase in land values and in turn contributing to rising property values in the region.”
 
“However, with interest rates are now past their historic lows and beginning to creep upwards as the cost of offshore funding increases. Increased funding costs and uncertainty going forward may impact market confidence in the region but as yet we have not seen any sign of a slow-down in the market.”
  
Provincial centres
In the North Island, many of the regional centres continued to see steady value growth including Rotorua and Palmerston North. The areas to see the strongest percentage growth over the past three months were the Far North District up 8.3%; the Central Hawkes Bay up 9.1% and the Kawerau District where values spiked a further 16.6% and they are up a staggering 57.5% year on year but of course come off a low base. Gisborne also saw strong value growth, rising 5.9% over the past three months and 17.2% year on year.
 
All parts areas in the North Island saw values rise in the year since January 2016, however values have  decreased over the past three months in parts of Auckland and Hamilton as well as Western Bay of Plenty, Opotiki, Wairoa and South Taranaki.
 
In the South Island, many areas saw positive value growth over the past year. Queenstown Lakes District values continued to accelerate up 6.0% since November and 30.7% year on year. The MacKenzie District continued to benefit from the overflow of rising values in Queenstown and Wanaka, with values there rising 9.7% since November and 26.9% year on year. The only place in the South Island to see a decrease in values over the past year was the Buller District, while over the past three months values dropped in parts of Christchurch, Ashburton and Buller.