Small town property values jump while Auckland slumps

Auckland property values have declined in the past year while smaller cities and regional towns have seen an increase, new data shows. 

The latest QV House Price Index shows residential property values across New Zealand have increased over the past year by 3.2 percent and by 1.2 percent in the three months to December. 

The nationwide average property value is now $682,938 compared to the average value for the Auckland Region which is $1,048,145. 

While Auckland stands out with the highest average property values in the country, prices in the region decreased by 0.4 percent year-on-year, but did see a slight increase of 0.1 percent in the past quarter. 

Auckland's North Shore property values dropped 1.1 percent in the year to December and by 0.3 percent over the past three months, with the average value now $1,212,664. 

QV general manager David Nagel said there has been continued growth in many smaller cities and regional towns, "particularly in the central and upper North Island". 

Wellington, for example, saw property values increase by 7.8 percent over the past year and by 3.2 percent over the past quarter, with prices now averaging $688,074. 

Upper Hutt and Porirua saw the largest increases in property values, with 12.1 percent and 9.4 percent increases, respectively. 

"The first three months of the year is generally a busy period in the market with buyers coming to the capital city to enhance their employment and educational opportunities," QV Wellington senior consultant David Cornford said. 

He said rents are increasing in Wellington as a shortage of rental accommodation continues with the cost of renting in the city "now similar to Auckland". 

"The extremely competitive rental market has also meant tenants are increasingly choosing to renew their fixed terms or roll over their leases. 

Annual changes to property value in New Zealand.
Annual changes to property value in New Zealand. Photo credit: Supplied

"It'll be interesting to see what effect the abolishment of letting fees and increased compliance costs will have on rents over 2019."

Meanwhile, property values in Dunedin have soared by 11.2 percent in the past year and by 3.5 percent over the past three months. The average value in the city is now $434,903. 

Property values in Hawke's Bay also jumped significantly by 10.2 percent. 

Mr Nagel said the loosening of the LVR (loan-to-value) restrictions, which took effect on January 1, should "enable some new first home buyers and investors to enter the market in the coming months". 

"I don't anticipate this impact to be overly significant, but it may help drive a busy property market in the early stages of 2019," he said. 

The QV House Price Index data reflects figures from earlier this year which showed house prices were stabilising in December thanks to flat a flat Auckland market.