5 Jul 2016

Surge in investor activity sees home values soar

12:05 pm on 5 July 2016

The rise in house values is showing no signs of easing with QV's national index rising 13.5 percent in the year to June.

Sold sign outside a new house being built in East Auckland

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

In Auckland, the growth rate accelerated to 16.1 percent over the 12 months, pushing values 78.4 percent higher than the previous peak of 2007.

The average house value in the Auckland region is now $975,087, compared to a national average of $590,909.

But it was Hamilton that experienced the highest growth of 29 percent over the past year, while gains were robust throughout the country, including Waikato (26.4 percent), Tauranga (23.65 percent), Wellington (12.4 percent) and Dunedin (10.7 percent).

"Nationwide values are now rising at the fastest rate since 2004, up 5.6 percent over the past three months alone," said QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush.

"Many housing markets around the country are continuing to be driven by strong investor demand, low interest rates, rapid price growth in the Auckland market and strong net migration."

Latest data put the share of sales in Auckland to investors at 46 percent of all sales, up from 37 percent in 2012, she said.

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Graphic: QV

After modest growth between 2011 and 2015, Dunedin house prices have shot up 11 percent in the last year.

Edinburgh Realty general manager Mark Miller said buyer interest in the city was strong.

"Prices have started to creep up. Those who bought in the last boom have had to wait until it was economic for them to sell.

"Also, with the restrictions on first-home buyers, it really did constipate the market and, since those have lifted for the region, the culmination of those two things has really pushed along the market so it's actually been really buoyant," Mr Miller said.

But it still remains a difficult time for first home buyers.

A mortgage broker in Nelson, Stuart Pope, said sellers were usually spoilt for choice, with many having up to six firm offers on the table.

He said sellers wanted the cleanest offer with the least number of conditions, which few first-home buyers could compete with.

"I do have a couple of first-home buyers who've made offers on four or five, or even in one case six, properties and missed out on all of them because of their conditions."

"They do get disillusioned and disheartened with that," Mr Pope said.

Industry players and analysts do not expect the market to slow any time soon.

QV's Andrea Rush said investors, particularly in Auckland, appeared to be buying while they could.

"What we have noticed with the recent Reserve Bank announcements, that they may be considering further restrictions on property investors, that it appears property investors may have taken this on board and it seems to have led to a surge in investor purchases," Ms Rush said.

In Auckland, growth continued across all parts of the Super City region with the former Manukau City suburbs seeing the strongest, at 20.4 percent since June last year.

Former Auckland City Council suburbs have increased by 14.3 percent over the past year to an average value of $1,146,639.

The nationwide average of 13.5 percent growth in the June year compared with a rise in values of 12.4 percent over the 12 months to May.

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