7 Mar 2018

QV stats: First home buyers show signs of returning

5:24 am on 7 March 2018

The housing market remains steady with a positive outlook, with easier lending rules and low interest rates starting to attract first home buyers back into the market.

House sold sign, house auction sign, key.

Photo: RNZ / 123rf

State valuer Quotable Value's house price index rose 6.5 percent in the year to February, fractionally higher than January's annual rate.

The national average house price was $672,645.

Growth was strongest in the regions, notably in Hawkes Bay, the bottom of the North Island and parts of the South Island.

Of the main centres, Wellington and Dunedin remained the strongest markets, but prices continue to fall in much of Christchurch.

Auckland region prices rose 1 percent in the February year with an average value $1,053,948.

"Low interest rates and the easing in the LVR (loan to value) restrictions has seen many more first home buyers active in areas where they can still afford to enter the market, while some investors also appear to be becoming more active now they need a slightly lower deposit," QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said.

She said the outlook for the foreseeable future was for a gradual improvement in housing conditions and prices, with demand still outstripping supply in many regions, which would support prices.