New Zealand property values are flat heading into winter, as stock levels rise, time on market increases, and Auckland becomes a buyer's market for the first time in years. While the Wellington market is still strong and certain regional markets are performing well, Christchurch is down and national figures are cooling. According to Quotable Value (QV), the average value of all residential dwellings throughout the country was $677,618 in March, up 7.3 percent compared to March last year.
Dwelling price growth in Auckland was almost flat for the year at 1 percent to $1,055,992. The North Shore was the only part of the region to post any significant gains, with coastal properties up 3.4 percent to $1,422,283, and overall property values up 2.9 percent. Homes on the Gulf Islands posted the healthiest gains for the year at 8.5 percent. Prices were up by 3.2 percent in Hamilton. 4.5 percent in Tauranga, 9.4 percent in Dunedin, and 8.2 percent in Wellington to $644,567. In Christchurch, the average dwelling value was down by 0.6 percent to $494,117.
The situation in Auckland has cooled dramatically over the last 12 months, with 1 percent growth recorded between March 2017 and 2018 compared to 12.3 percent growth the year before. Reduced pressure has helped more first home buyers to enter the market and provided them with more choice. According to QV Auckland senior consultant James Steele, "First home buyers are being more active in the market and they are taking advantage of less competition from investors and also lower deposit schemes being offered by banks."
According to figures from Realestate.co.nz, there were 9572 Auckland homes available for sale at the end of March, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same time last year. With the number of homes available for sale at a six year high, Auckland has become a buyer's market for the first time in many years. According to Realestate.co.nz, the average asking price for a home in Auckland dropped from its record high of $994,175 set in February this year to $963,888 in March, which was slightly lower than the March 2017 average of $969,532. In contrast to QV's figures, this sees the average Auckland asking price decrease by -1.3 percent for the year.
While Wellington doesn't seem to be following current national and Auckland trends, according to QV Wellington consultant David Cornford, there are signs that values could be flattening: "There is still plenty of activity in the Wellington market although value growth continues to slow and it feels like we are starting to enter a period of stable property values after a couple of years of strong growth." According to Realestate.co.nz figures, this may already be happening, with the average asking price in Wellington having increased by just 1.6 percent on an annual basis. With prices falling and supply exceeding demand in many markets, there could be renewed opportunities for buyers heading into winter, including those who want to move up the property ladder.
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