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QV House Price Index, March 2023: Downturn deepens as Official Cash Rate rises again


The residential property downturn appears to be gaining momentum once more, with home values making their largest first-quarter fall in more than 15 years.

The latest QV House Price Index for March shows property values have decreased across Aotearoa New Zealand by an average of 3.9% since the start of the year – weakening further from the 2.7% three-monthly decline we saw in February, and the 1.7% three-monthly decline recorded back in January. The average home value is now $907,737, which is 13.3% less than the same time last year.

It is a significantly larger first quarter decline than at the same time last year, when residential property values dropped by an average of 0.6% throughout the first three months of 2022. In fact, the closest comparable start to a calendar year was in 2008, amidst the Global Financial Crisis, when home values dropped by an average of 1.1% from January to March.

The latest QV figures show the rolling three-monthly rate of reduction increased last month in all bar two of the country’s 16 largest urban areas, with the most significant quarterly home value reductions occurring on average in Whangarei (-6.6%) and Rotorua (-5.7%). Of the largest cities, Auckland (-5.2%), Hamilton (-5.2%), and Wellington (-4.8%) led the decline. Christchurch (-1.2%) and Hastings (-2%) were the two exceptions – the former experiencing the smallest decline of the main centres.

QV national spokesperson Simon Petersen commented: “Traditionally you don’t see too many home value declines this time of year due to it being one of the busier periods for buying and selling real estate. But it’s obviously a tough time right now for prospective buyers, who are having to deal with very significant credit constraints amidst an ongoing cost of living crisis.

“It’s tough out there for sellers as well. With plenty of stock still available and fewer active buyers than normal, they’re having to keep shifting their expectations downward to meet the evolving market. Interestingly real estate agents are reporting significant falls in new listings across the motu, which is an indication that most vendors are trying to tough it out until the market improves.”

“In less than a year the average home value has fallen from $1m nationally to just a tick over $900,000 today. Now it looks destined to fall further still, especially following the Reserve Bank’s latest increase to the Official Cash Rate, which should maintain that downward pressure on the housing market well into the cooler months of the year, when activity is traditionally even quieter.”

However, Mr Petersen wasn’t quite as pessimistic about the market’s long-term prognosis. “The good news is house prices are trending in the right direction for first-home buyers – now if only the same thing could be said of interest rates. Some are still predicting they could be pretty close to peaking. With increasing migration into the country only expected to increase demand for residential property, we might still see the downturn bottom out later in the year, but there’s still so much uncertainty.

“There’s still a possible recession looming large on the horizon, even more mortgage repricing to come, and no small matter of an election later in the year. It’s little wonder that the market is so quiet right now. When the bottom of the market does finally come, we might even see the impact of some pent-up demand from the past year or so. Time will tell.”



The residential property downturn shows little sign of abating in New Zealand’s largest city.

Home values dropped by an average of 5.2% across the Auckland region this quarter – weakening further from the 4% quarterly decline reported in last month’s QV House Price Index.

Of the Super City’s seven former territorial authorities, Papakura (-9.9%) recorded the largest reduction on average since the start of this calendar year, and Franklin (-1.1%) recorded the smallest. The average home value in the region is now $1,269,189.

Local QV valuer Hugh Robson commented: “The market is very quiet now. Flood and cyclone events have certainly contributed to this, but activity was low even before these events. Credit constraints and higher interest rates continue to be a major factor that is putting off many prospective buyers – but there are some good buys out there as a result of falling house prices, if you can get finance.”

“Investors remain quiet. Many of them are coming off low fixed interest rates and will have to re-fix at higher rates. Healthy Homes legislation and the issue of interest deductibility continues to keep them out of the market for now. Many will be waiting to see what takes place with the upcoming election before potentially exploring their options,” he added.


Far North District has managed to bunk the downward trend this quarter. Its average home value climbed 0.5% to $738,247.

Meanwhile, Whangarei topped the list of urban centres with the most significant home value reductions this quarter – its average home value fell 6.6% to $738,851 – but Kaipara District saw an even larger decline of 9.1% to $798,882.

Year on year, home values are on average 4.4% lower in the Far North, 13.2% lower in Whangarei, and 17.9% lower in Kaipara.


It has been a slow start to 2023 for Tauranga’s beleaguered residential property market.

With activity down significantly on previous years, the average home value in Tauranga has slipped back 4.5% to $1,028,268 since the start of January. The city’s three-month rolling average rate of decline has accelerated every month so far this year, with values now down 15% year-on-year.

QV property consultant Derek Turnwald commented: “Open home attendance is dropping off now as we head into cooler weather with only an average of three attendees per open home. Auction attendance is very poor, and consequently auction outcomes are also poor. Properties with maintenance issues or unconsented work are still very difficult to sell unless they are discounted significantly.”

“Many frustrated vendors who are unable to reach an acceptable price are pulling their properties off the market, which is frustrating sales agents,” he added.


Residential property values have declined across the wider Waikato region by an average of 2.6% since the start of the 2023 calendar year.

The average rate of decline has been significantly higher in Hamilton, where the average home value has reduced 5.2% this quarter to $777,143.

Despite the ongoing downturn, the districts of Taupo and Thames-Coromandel have managed to buck the trend in these latest figures, with property values seeing moderate average increases of 0.3% and 0.1% respectively since 1 January.

Local QV property consultant Marshall Wu said sales volumes were significantly down from the same time 12 months ago. “The market continues to slow due to the same factors and market conditions that much of New Zealand has been experiencing for the last 12 months or so – namely interest rates and the high cost of living. There are no signs of this easing in the near future.”

“Agents are reporting longer selling periods with fewer buyers in the market, which is understandable given the market sentiment and conditions. Especially at the lower end of the market we are seeing the higher interest rates restricting the number of eligible first home buyers, and all buyers in general.”


Rotorua saw the second-biggest average home value decline of Aotearoa New Zealand’s main urban centres this month.

The average residential property value reduced by 5.7% to $632,544 this quarter – 0.2% worse than the 5.5% quarterly reduction recorded in last month’s QV House Price Index. Homes are worth an average 15.3% less than at the end of March last year.

QV property consultant Derek Turnwald said open-home attendance was beginning to drop off again as we head back into cooler weather. “Agents are reporting increasingly frustrating relationships with vendors, who are often unprepared to meet the market in pricing, while buyers’ expectations in terms of discounting for any unresolved compliance or maintenance issues only grows.”

“A high number of vendors have even pulled their homes from the market, leaving agents out of pocket after paying the marketing costs themselves. That’s why it’s now common for marketing fees to be collected up front. A number of local agents are leaving the industry as a result of the downturn.”


The Taranaki region’s residential property market continues to fare better than most.

Home values have fallen across the wider region by an average of 6.5% since the same time last year, including 1.9% this quarter. This compares to a national average annual decline of 13.3%, including a 3.9% reduction this quarter.

New Plymouth was the most resilient of the North Island’s main urban centres this quarter – and second-most resilient overall. Its average home value ($717,975) is 1.5% lower than at the start of this calendar year.

Hawke’s Bay

Home values are already 3.1% lower on average in Hawke’s Bay than at the start of this year.

In Napier and Hastings, the average rate of decline throughout the first three months of 2023 was 3.8% and 2% respectively – though it's worth noting that values held steady in the latter during the month of March.

Local QV registered valuer Damian Hall said the Hawke’s Bay market had remained fairly subdued. “House prices are still on the downward slide, but they appear to be flattening off slightly. The market remains slow, though some agents report that activity has picked up slightly, even if the average number of days it takes to sell a property keeps getting pushed out. Buyers remain very cautious and are weary of overpaying.”

“There is no real evidence yet to suggest the cyclone has impacted the property market in Hawke’s Bay. The insurance claims process is still underway for many, so we may know more as time unfolds. In the meantime, there is still a rental shortage across the region with the number of applicants exceeding the number of vacancies available. Rents appear to be maintaining their current levels despite the shortage.”

Palmerston North

The average value of a home in Palmerston North is now $631,096.

That figure is 15.2% lower than at the end of March last year, and 2.7% lower than at the start of the 2023 calendar year. By comparison, the national average home value is 13.3% lower annually and 3.9% lower this quarter.

Local QV registered valuer Olivia Betts says demand for property in Palmerston North remains subdued generally and the number of sale transactions is low for this time of year. “We’re seeing properties sitting on the market for long periods with only a low amount of offers coming to the table, many of them unrealistic – even in this market, which has been falling steadily for 12 months now.”


Homeowners are hurting in Wellington as values continue to drop across the region.

From 1 January to 31 March 2023, the average home value dropped across the wider Wellington region by 4.8% to $842,129 – a figure that is now 21.3% lower than at the same time last year.

The largest average reductions this quarter were recorded in Porirua (-7.1%) and Wellington City (-5.3%). The smallest average reduction was in Hutt City (-3.6%).

QV Wellington senior consultant David Cornford commented: “The larger than expected OCR increase last Wednesday will create greater uncertainty in the wider economy and have flow on effects for the property market over coming months. Buyers remain cautious and continue to take their time with their purchasing decisions.”

“There has been an uptick in requests from lenders for forced sale valuations, indicating some homeowners are feeling mortgage pain as they come off low fixed interest rates or suffer other financial shocks,” he added.


Nelson’s average home value has dropped below $800,000 for the first time since July 2021.

It follows an annual decline of 13.1% since the end of March last year, including a 2.3% reduction in the most recent quarter. The average home value is currently $788,393.

QV Nelson/Marlborough manager Craig Russell said he was starting to see evidence of properties purchased over the last 18 months selling at a loss. “The market continues to soften with many properties struggling to receive much attention at all from prospective buyers and sitting on the market for an extended period of time.”

“Section sales are weak due to an oversupply of vacant land and a preference from purchasers to buy existing homes, in part due to them being far less exposed to building cost increases in this high inflation environment,” he added.

West Coast

Westland continues to be an outlier on the West Coast.

It's the only West Coast district still showing positive home value growth over the past 12-month period – up 2.1% to $442,973. Buller ($340,525) and Grey District ($351,362) have recorded annual home value reductions of 5.6% and 8.1% respectively.

Westland’s home values have shot up 12% on average in the past six months, compared to average reductions of 0.3% and 4.1% in Buller and Grey respectively.

QV West Coast manager David Shaw said the data continued to be variable due to lower-than-average sales volumes, but activity had picked up in Buller and Westland in recent months. “Sales statistics for Westland and Hokitika in particular have been strong as the region continues to grow. Affordability continues to be a major attraction for buyers, especially as the squeeze comes on as interest rates are reviewed.”

“As building costs rise, many buyers moving to the area are now looking for well-presented existing homes rather than looking for pieces of land and building new ones,” he added.


Christchurch’s downturn continues at a much more leisurely pace than many of Aotearoa New Zealand’s other main centres.

The average home value in the Garden City has been ebbing away at a relatively consistent pace of between 0.3% and 0.9% for the last eight months in a row, with the latest QV House Price Index showing a 0.5% decline in the month of March. A quarterly decline of 1.2% to $741,925 is the best of Aotearoa New Zealand’s main urban centres, with the annual rate of decline currently sitting at 7%.

Local QV registered valuer Olivia Brownie commented: “Christchurch’s negative home value growth is still mixed and pretty inconsistent across different market segments, with some affected more than others. Property types that are in oversupply are seeing the biggest impact in house value decline.”

“We expect it to be a subdued winter for the property market in the region with increasing costs taking effect,” she added.

Meanwhile, home values are down across the wider Canterbury region by an average of 1.5% throughout the first three months of 2023. The largest average reductions so far this year have been in Hurunui (-6%) and Waimakariri (-3.8%), with Mackenzie (1.6%) and Waimate (0.9%) seeing some small capital gains despite the difficult market conditions.


Dunedin’s residential property values have slid into autumn at a slower rate of reduction than the national average.

From 1 January to 31 March, the average home value in Dunedin has fallen 1.6% to $633,371. That figure is now 9.9% lower than at the same time last year. For comparison, the national average home value has fallen by 3.9% to $907,737 since the start of the calendar year, and by 13.3% since the same time last year.

Local QV registered valuer Rebecca Johnston said Dunedin’s number of sales were tracking downward as we head into the cooler months, with supply continuing to exceed demand. “Sale prices are still softening here, as they are throughout much of the rest of the country.”

“Investors are still taking a back seat. They will be feeling the pinch of higher interest rates and further increases to the OCR. Some are choosing to off load their debt and ease some pressure by reducing sale prices to achieve quicker sales. Off-plan townhouses continue to be their preferred investment choice with no Brightline test applicable to new builds, as well as mortgage interest deductibility, compared to existing builds.”


Queenstown’s average home value is teetering on the edge of its first average annual home value decline since September 2020.

The average home value in Queenstown ($1,661,930) is just 0.1% higher than the same time last year, with the latest QV House Price Index figures recording a quarterly decline of 3.2% since the start of this calendar year.


Home values continue to track downward in New Zealand’s southernmost city.

Invercargill’s average home value has decreased by 3.1% throughout the first three months of 2023 to reach $452,355. It’s a faster rate of decline than in the three months to the end of 2022, when values fell by an average of 1.8%.

Keep track of all these value movements and more via our interactive QV House Price Index.