7 Jul 2021

House prices: Growth slows but 'too early to say' if market easing

5:24 am on 7 July 2021

Growth in average house values has slowed in the latest quarter but it is too soon to say whether prices will continue to ease.

Houses around Lyttelton area in Christchurch

File photo. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The latest QV House Price Index shows values rose 6.6 percent in the three months to the end of June, a fall from 8.8 percent quarterly growth in May.

However, the national average value was still up nearly 26 percent on the year earlier to $943,184, while the average value in Auckland rose more than 23 percent to $1,347,092.

"It's too early to say the market has turned, but this will be encouraging news for government officials and regulators, concerned about the financial risks of an overheated property market," QV general manager David Nagel said, noting the slowdown could be linked to a typical winter downturn.

"This easing comes after a range of government policy announcements earlier this year to dampen activity by property investors and speculators, while there's also plenty of chatter about interest rates rising later next year."

Of the 16 major urban centres QV monitors, all except Rotorua saw a drop in quarterly growth compared with last month.

Central New Zealand continues to show the strongest annual rate of value growth, with the three fastest growing regions being Manawatu-Whanganui, greater Wellington and Hawke's Bay.

The strongest value gains over the past three months have come from Hastings, closely followed by Palmerston North.

Tauranga continued to lead the way for urban centres for the second consecutive month, followed by Christchurch.

The three lowest annual growth rates were all in the South Island, although the Otago region still experienced significant increase, as well as Southland and Tasman.

"But while interest rates are still at record lows, accompanied with a dearth of property listings in most parts of the country, it's unlikely that we see house values fall any time soon," Nagel said.

"We'll likely see a continued slowing in the rate of price increases over the coming months as the property market absorbs the recent changes and winter really sets in."

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