7 Dec 2017

What slowdown? House prices accelerate

7:06 am on 7 December 2017

The housing market has picked up pace again, according to the latest QV data.

An auction sign outside a house for sale in Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

The data reveals house price growth rose 6.4 percent nationally in the year to November, compared with last month's annual growth of 3.9 percent.

The average price now stands at $664,485.

"Basically, those who were waiting got out there and started purchasing again," QV National spokesperson Andrea Rush said.

Ms Rush attributed the pick up to a delayed spring surge now that a new government had been confirmed, while demand remained robust due to low interest rates.

She said the pick-up did not include investors, who continued to stay away.

Annual values fell 0.5 percent to $1,045,741 in Auckland, but in the November quarter prices gained 0.4 percent.

"A lot of those areas across Auckland are rising again, some areas are now, it's a mixed picture," Ms Rush said.

Wellington and Otago continued to experience solid gains, as did many provincial centres in regions such as Hawke's Bay and Southland.

In contrast, prices in Hamilton and Tauranga eased.

The Reserve Bank is picking looser lending restrictions, which kick in at the beginning of next year, will not reignite the housing market.

"The easing in LVR restrictions in January and retail banks lending criteria is likely to help improve activity and demand in housing the market as we move through the summer months," Ms Rush said.

"But it's possible the usual slow-down over the Christmas period may mean we don't see the full impact of this until February and March next year."

The rise in prices in many parts of the country meant first home buyers would continue to struggle to raise enough for a deposit, Ms Rush warned.

"Tauranga is a good example where the Home Start Grant is devised for those purchasing houses between $400-$450,000. But this is now seen as too low, (and) needing to be adjusted, with an average value in Tauranga now of $688,000."

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