21 Sep 2021

First-home values rise higher than national average

4:41 pm on 21 September 2021

First home buyers are continuing to feel the pain, with entry-level house prices rising at their fastest rate in five years.


The latest Quotable Value Quartile Index, which tracks house prices and sales at both ends of the residential property ladder, show the value of New Zealand's least expensive homes increased by an average of 3.6 percent across all main centres this winter.

The rate was greater than the last two winters combined.

In the three months from the start of June to the end of August, first-home values have also risen by 0.3 percent, which is more than the national average and 2.1 percent more than the same time last year.

QV general manager David Nagel said winter was usually a time when some heat came out of the property market.

"We have seen that to a certain extent this year, with average house price rises dipping across the country's main centres from an April peak of 3.1 percent in a single month to just 1.2 percent in August.

"But the runaway residential property market that was unleashed last year is taking a long time to slow right down. House price rises will have to stop eventually, especially since interest rates are almost certainly going to rise soon, but unfortunately it's not getting any easier for first-home buyers in the meantime."

Meanwhile, Nagel said Auckland's current struggles to suppress the Delta strain of Covid-19, with the rest of the country in alert level 2, would likely delay the usual spring spike in the number of houses for sale across the country.

"Most vendors will likely be waiting until restrictions ease further before listing their properties for sale, so we may see further constraints on supply for some time yet, not to mention delays to the building of new homes up and down the country," he said.

The biggest gains across lower quartile house prices were in Rotorua, where the average first home value increased by 6.9 percent over the past three months to $458,679.

It was closely followed by Nelson (6.5 percent), New Plymouth (6.4 percent), Franklin (6.2 percent), Rodney (6 percent) and Tauranga (5.6 percent).

But Nagel said buyers may be somewhat pleased to note that lower quartile home values have dropped 0.6 percent in Auckland's central suburbs.

There was a similarly small drop across the lower quartile in Marlborough and no growth whatsoever in Hastings this quarter.

"House price rises are generally easing through a combination of government intervention, the return of stricter LVRs, the tightening of credit availability, and the imminent prospect of interest rate rises. Now, as we move into spring, I expect that trend to continue as it has been, slowly but surely," Nagel said.

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