Christchurch councillor urges local, central Governments to support first-home buyers as property values hit new records

Christchurch experienced its highest monthly growth in 17 years.
Christchurch experienced its highest monthly growth in 17 years. Photo credit: Getty

More support is needed for first home buyers with fears they're being priced out of the market in the Garden City, a councillor says.

CoreLogic data shows Christchurch experienced its highest monthly growth in 17 years - rising 3.1 percent in January.

The jump in Christchurch property values was attributed to a mixture of demand for affordable housing, cheap borrowing and property prices playing catch-up, CoreLogic head of research Nick Goodall said.

Christchurch city councillor James Daniels said the data showed Christchurch was becoming a more desirable place to live but meant it was harder for those trying to get on to the property ladder.

Daniels. Photo credit: Christchurch City Council

"I think that's happening right around the country but, as I say, means that Christchurch is very desirable to live," he told Newshub on Tuesday.

"There's no doubt that it's difficult to get on the property ladder anywhere in New Zealand and when you're in a place like Christchurch, where people want to live, it makes it more and more difficult."

Areas near Christchurch with high increases in annual property values were Waimakariri at 9.5 percent and Selwyn at 7.7 percent - both districts where residential property development has taken off. Daniels said the value spike meant more support was needed for first-home buyers.

"[It's] a chance for both local Government - and central Government through their agencies - to step up to the plate and help people through this really difficult time to be getting onto the property ladder.

"We need to help [first-home buyers], as a country, because they are the future." 

Other property value hotspots include Auckland which recorded its first double-digit rise since 2017 at 11 percent. Gisborne's value growth also increased at a rate of 30 percent annually.

Former Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash last month said New Zealand's housing market was "absurd".

"The Government does not want house prices to fall, in fact, the Prime Minister has been quite explicit that she wants them to continue to rise, although more slowly," he told Magic Talk radio.  

"You cannot make housing more affordable if prices continue to go up - they're outrageously unaffordable by international standards now.

"It's just absurd."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern late last month said housing was one of New Zealand's "toughest long-term problems". The Government recently announced 8000 transitional houses will go to the regions where population growth has exceeded new housing supply. 

"There is no silver bullet for fixing the housing crisis but that is not a reason for inaction," Ardern said.

"It will continue to take a concerted effort across the term."