What's it Worth?

There are a number of ways to understand the value of your property ranging from free to a few hundred dollars. You can go it alone and compare properties with similar rating valuations and features in the area that have sold recently, you can get in touch with your local real estate agent for an appraisal, purchase an E-valuer or a Full Market Valuation or both. A combination of a few of these options can give you a good indication of what your property will likely sell for.

Any Renovations or Additions?

Two houses in the same location, of similar size and with the same reserve price, can sell for a big difference in value. It begs the question, how do you add the most value to a home, and what value do high specifications add in today’s property market?

It may be worth spending more on “high spec” features for homes at the high end of the market, but for more modest priced homes you have to be careful not to over-capitalise, or overspend on improvements that won’t increase the value of your home.

Whether or not “high specification” adds value differs between suburbs and value ranges because of the demographics of an area. Different buyers value different things.

Spending money on kitchens and bathrooms will usually add value to a home. But if you want to know whether to spend $10,000 or $30,000 on your bathroom makeover you need to consider the overall value and location of your home. On a higher priced property you are likely to add at least the value of a ‘high spec’ bathroom but at the lower end then you might be better to spend $10,000 instead. A modern kitchen that doesn’t break the bank will still add value to a home. But if you spend $40,000 on a kitchen in a modest home, you may not get the same value back.

Relaying carpet or replacing the roof won’t add value to your property, carpets are a chattel and roofs fall under repairs and maintenance. A roof is expected to be functional and do its job. You will lose money if leaks otherwise it is just a cost. You wouldn’t replace a roof unless it’s needed. As long as the roof of the dwelling is well maintained, functional and in reasonable condition the value will not be impacted by the roof.

Landscaping can add a significant amount of value a property. However it may not be a direct relationship between value spent and value added. The added value of well-presented landscaping is generally on the overall saleability of a home through increased street appeal/utility. It is a great way to get potential purchasers through your home on open homes.

In regards to how much should be spent on landscaping, again it depends on the overall value level and type of property. The market expectation of the level of landscaping in a high value suburb is significantly greater than that of a lower value suburb.

The nature of the property can also dictate the nature of the landscaping and site development utilised. For example if you own a high end character villa you ideally want to keep that timber picket fence out front rather than replace it with something more modern.

Property owners should consider the nature of their property and the wider neighbourhood before commencing any major landscaping works.

Another example of this could be replacing timber joinery in a villa/character bungalow with modern aluminium joinery as this does not enhance the character and detracts from the value.

Garaging is another element that is also very dependent on the locality of the property. In areas which have larger land sites and generally more space, a new garage may not add much in value. However, in inner city suburbs where land is at a premium and the lots are much smaller and off street parking is scarce, a garage could add a significant amount of value to your property.

If you have done significant work it might be worth investing in a Full Market Valuation to get an understanding of the worth of your property.

Valuation Options

Rating Valuation

  • only updated every three years for the purpose of your local council
  • established using a mass appraisal process
  • often used when buying and selling as an indicative price.


  • an instant, online estimate of the current market value for a property
  • based on recent, nearby comparable sales
  • often used for establishing the current value when making an offer or wanting to sell your property.

A Full Market Valuation is:

  • completed by a Registered Valuer
  • based upon a full inspection of your property as well as related sales in the area being analysed
  • typically used for a variety of reasons, including securing finance when buying

For more information visit Valuations and Reports

Understanding the Market

Deciding the right time to buy or sell doesn’t have to be a guessing game.  By getting to know the market as it stands, as well as the general trends that have long been established, your end goal, be it buying or selling, can hopefully be achieved within your required timeframe. 

Buyers’ vs sellers’ market

One thing to look at when you decide to enter into the property market is whether your area is currently a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market.

In simple terms a buyers’ market benefits the people looking to buy a property. Generally, there are more properties on the market than buyers. Sellers are essentially vying for their attention as sales are harder to come by in this environment. Buyers can benefit through increased negotiations over price as well having more choice and less competition regarding the properties they are looking at.

A seller’s market on the other hand is essentially the opposite. There are multiple buyers looking and fewer properties for sale. This generally forces more competition and can increase sale prices as a result.

If you are selling and buying at the same time, it can be a bit of a balancing act depending on the current market environment. For example, if house prices are generally on the rise this can be great for when you sell. But it also means you may be forced to pay extra, or over the odds, for a property when you buy. Reversely, if house prices are low you may get a good deal buying but when you come to sell you own, it may not reach your full expectations.

You can get an idea of how the market is playing out by keeping an eye on our latest monthly value statistics and market commentary. You can also register with us to receive them as part of our email newsletter.

The seasonal impact

Across the seasons, you will generally encounter different times for when it is most affective to buy and sell.

Although each year can differ depending on the economic climate, generally speaking the autumn and spring seasons are when most of the property sales occur. Even what seem like the smallest things, like extra sunlight and warmth, can affect how a house is viewed. As a result these seasons are more conducive to properties changing hands. Summer would seem like a good time also; however, a lot of people in the market can buy or sell before or after, avoiding the busy Christmas and New Year period.

Other factors to consider

There are many other factors you need to consider when you decide to buy or sell a property. Regardless of market conditions and current trends, you need to look at your personal circumstances. If you need to sell by a certain time for example, you don’t have a choice. However, perhaps trying to sell earlier and having a later settlement date, instead of starting to sell close to any deadline date would be a better option.

Some other important factors that you need to consider include:

Economic climate – is the current climate meaning people are holding onto their money?

Interest rates – are they low and making buying an easier prospect for you?

Neighbourhood developments – is a nearby eyesore going to affect whether you buy a property, or how does it impact you when selling? Or is something like a motorway extension or an airport expansion going to affect your home?

Defining features of your property – is there something that sets your property apart from ones nearby? Or, is a characteristic of your property highly sought after at the moment?

Latest News & Articles

Apartment living offers a unique lifestyle with a ‘lock up and leave’ mentality - controlled access enables security and privacy, with all exterior maintenance the concern of a Body Corporate. You may even enjoy stunning views and the convenience of inner city living - saving commuting cost and time whilst enjoying all the perks of an inner city lifestyle.  Plus, weekend lawn mowing is no longer your life. Perhaps the gloatiest apartments perk of all?  No parking dramas. There’s nothing quite like being able to stroll to your favourite eatery or café, watching the ‘others’ circling for parks. Poor housey people. 
Apartment dwellers often talk of the sense of community - they know their neighbours and the local dairy or café workers actually greet them by name. They also talk of the freedom from ‘stuff’ that living within a smaller footprint (compared to the traditional villa) enables - as long as smart storage and good layout is on offer, it can be a joy to live a more simplified life. 
Sure, there’s no big backyard with grass under your toes but there’s a lot to be said for apartment living. 
So what’s New Zealand’s current preference for apartment versus a house? We looked to the latest CoreLogic Pain and Gain Report which provides an analysis of homes which were resold over the previous quarter. Comparing the most recent sale price to the home’s previous sale price, determines whether the property resold at a gross profit or gross loss. This provides a proxy for the housing market’s performance, highlighting the magnitude of profit or loss the typical seller of a home makes in analysed regions.
After closing completely in the middle of 2017, a gap has actually re-emerged between the performances of resales for houses versus apartments. In the final quarter of 2017, 9.6% of apartment sales were made at a loss, whereas the figure for houses was a much lower 3.6%. Any recent market fatigue has been concentrated in the apartment segment, perhaps where shorter-focused owners are more prevalent. It’s important to note however that the losses for apartments (and houses) are still low in an historical context and that both of those figures were slightly lower than the previous quarter.
We also spoke to CoreLogic Head of Research Nick Goodall, who provided correction to the assumption that first home buyers were apartment fans: 
“Actually, while we’ve seen First Home Buyers begin to modify their expectations in regards to sacrificing the quarter acre dream, it’s mostly shifted to townhouses and other ‘shared wall’ properties rather than apartments. The latest data shows roughly 10% of apartment sales go to First Home Buyers, while for flats and houses it’s roughly 23% of each”
So there you have it. Apartment living may have its ardent proponents, but the statistics tell a different story about their sales performance right now. For more information, download your free copy of the latest CoreLogic Pain & Gain Report.

New listings have gone through their seasonally typical lift over the last few weeks, however listings in Auckland have not been as strong as around the rest of the country with the one year comparison in Auckland 11% down.

New listings in Canterbury have also been weak, while Waikato has seen a strong increase on the same time last year – up 25%.

Listings are showing signs of increasing both in Auckland and around the rest of the country, which will tend to dampen price pressures. Wellington, however, is still a tight market in terms of property available for sale.

Get your copy of the latest free CoreLogic March Property Market & Economic Update report.

First home buyers have slightly reduced their share of the market in the first few months of 2018, but remain more active than they have been at any point in the past 4-5 years.

Multiple property owners have also increased their share of the market in recent months, perhaps because some will be able to rejig existing finances to allow extra property purchases. On the other hand, movers are taking a smaller share of activity, perhaps preferring to renovate their existing house rather than move.

Get your copy of the latest free  CoreLogic March Property Market & Economic Update report.

The pace of annual rental growth slowed from 4.9% in January to 4.1% in February, a slightly different picture than the stability for value growth.

Gross rental yields continue to tick up and down a little from month to month, broadly hovering at just above the 3% mark.

Christchurch’s rental market remains the weakest of the main centres, with rents down by 1.9% over the past 12 months. Wellington and Tauranga continue to lead the pack in terms of rental growth, but yields in these centres are comparatively low. Dunedin stands out for having reasonably solid rental growth, combined with a reasonable gross yield of 4.6%.

Get your copy of the latest free March Property Market & Economic Update report.

According to the latest QV House Price Index stats powered by CoreLogic data, there is still relative restraint in growth across the market with only a 0.7% increase in the nationwide March figures. 

Auckland experienced a minor lift of 0.2%, while Wellington was also fairly subdued with only 0.6% growth.

So, with it being almost 18 months since value growth hit the brakes I thought it pertinent to analyse the contrasting behaviour of some our cities through the recent cycle.

Full results across the country are available here, but I’ve chosen to put Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Selwyn and Invercargill under the spotlight today.

Firstly looking at the North Island centres:


There are a number of things that stick out to me:

  • Auckland had a ‘pre-boom’ growth phase from 2012 to the end of 2014, when no-one else did. Its second and most significant acceleration began in 2015 and went through to a peak rate of 24.4% by the end of that year. And the growth rate has gradually slowed ever since, with a particular fall-away throughout last year.
  • Once Hamilton ‘went’ it went big. From 4.4% annual growth at the end of June 2015 to 18.2% in just four months, it then continued up to 31.5% annual growth at the end of July 2016. The other side of the purple mountain is just as steep down.
  • Wellington and Napier followed very similar trajectories all the way until mid-2017 when Wellington slowed and Napier held. 
  • Wellington held at its peak rate of over 20% for 9 months to the end of May 2017 before slowing and flattening from September last year.

It’s never sat well with me to talk about Auckland ‘going first’ and the regions following as I believe it’s far too simplistic an analysis. 

Certainly they all missed the boat from the first mini growth phase and second time around all three featured here behaved very differently. The big question now is how long Napier can keep growing at such strong rates. Affordability has certainly deteriorated over the past year. But given the buoyant tourism and horticulture sectors in the area, it’s unlikely that property value growth will come to a screaming halt just yet.

Down south we again see a range of different performances. I’ve re-included Auckland for context and was also interested in Selwyn’s cycle, next to Christchurch and then Invercargill for yet another contrast.

Once again there are plenty of intriguing trends.

  • Post-earthquakes Selwyn saw a very strong response in value growth, up to 14.1% annual growth at the end of August 2012.
  • Christchurch took a bit longer to see a similar increase in growth and it rose to 12.7% at the end of 2013, as the upward effects on property values from the loss of supply finally outweighed the downward effect of the population outflows.
  • Value growth in Invercargill has remained constrained in comparison to many other areas, but has held up more recently.
So what have we learned? First up I think it’s to recognise that we are well past the peak growth phase of this cycle. Yes, some of the smaller centres are seeing continued growth, but given the length of time this has occurred it’s unlikely to last much longer, especially with the tightening of credit through stricter serviceability tests at the banks. 

The other is just how much Auckland has slowed in the last two years. And given not much will change this year, in terms of the lending environment, demand drivers and the well covered supply response, I’m not expecting that growth rate to lift much again any time soon. As we touched on last month though, the lack of growth is not citywide and while volumes are significantly lower than the last few years we are still seeing some buyers remain active so I’m picking a flat year rather than a major drop.

What could change that relaxed view? We’re watching interest rates, the migration balance with Australia, and investor listings.