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QV April - the regions

Property values appear to be stabilising across the country, according to QV's report on the regions.


Auckland property values decreased by 0.5% over the last year and seem to be stabilising in a narrow band, according to the April QV report.

According to QV Valuation's Glenda Whitehead, sales activity has picked up over recent months though this turnover of properties has not necessarily resulted in price rises across all areas.

"We are seeing pockets of the market that are reacting positively to quality new listings, however, in many other areas we continue to see strong caution exercised by purchasers."

"Feedback from buyers has indicated that they are willing to put in bids or offers, but will not move beyond their agreed value limits. In some cases those limits are imposed by their banks lending criteria, with others setting their own limits based on level of debt they are willing to service," she said.

The continued caution and control over debt level provides some reasoning for the stability of values in Auckland, Whitehead said, and despite some fluctuations in values there has been an overall stability for the past year to 18 months.

"That is very moderate rises have been followed by gentle easing in months that follow, and we are generally back to where we started," she said.

"There is no doubt the market is now pricing the quality of improvements and quality of locality. This was not done at the height of the market and led to over pricing in some areas. It is perhaps these areas that are correcting to their true levels, which are holding overall values down."

Whitehead said listings levels remained subdued, with vendors continuing their wait-and-see approach.

QV reported the average sales price for the Auckland region in April was $535,161.


In the capital over April property values decreased by 3.4% over the past year. Values have moved within a narrow band for the last few months, having declined slightly since January after increasing slightly in late 2010.

"The Wellington market continues to be subdued with both listing and sales activity at low levels," said QV Valuations Kerry Buckeridge.

"Feedback from real estate agents varies widely with some saying they could sell more if they only had more good quality listings. Others are finding it difficult to get sales even if they do have sufficient stock."

Buckeridge said the properties that were attracting the most interest were those that represented good value for the buyer or those with sought after attributes. Overpriced properties and those requiring work were being overlooked unless severely discounted.

"Residential property prices appear to be quite flat and we are seeing no real indication that this will change for Wellington in the near term," he said.

According to QV, the average sales price for Wellington in April was $468,675.


Property prices have decreased 3.5% in Hamilton over the past year and continued to trend downwards.

"The residential property market in Hamilton has shown signs of resilience this month with property values steadying," said QV Valuations Richard Allen.

"As a result of this, and declining values this time a year ago, the gap in values between last year and this year closed a little."

Allen said the value gap had closed in most suburbs and that the Hamilton residential market "still remains static with little sign of any obvious stimulus on the horizon."

The average sales price for Hamilton in April was $339,039.


Property values in Tauranga fell by 1.7% over the past year, though appear to be stabilising in recent months.

"The Tauranga market is fairly patchy. There are small bursts of activity followed by quiet periods. The good news is we have seen more sales activity than most of last year, but sales are now similar to that of 12 months ago," said QV Valuations Shayne Donovan-Grammer.

"This slight lift, in my view, does not signal a recovery in the market but is more of a reflection of what tends to happen at this time of year. Activity is still centred mainly in the sub $400,000 market."

He said buyers were negotiating hard to get good deals and may be acting ahead of expected interest rate rises.

The average sales price for Tauranga in April was $399,358.


Property values in Dunedin fell by 4.2% and have continued to slide downwards.

Sales volumes also fell by 9% for the corresponding period in 2010 and values are at just 3% higher than the market low recorded in March 2009.

"Properties in the lower value bracket have been the most affected by the slowdown in the market," said QV Valuations Tim Gibson.

"Any property with deferred maintenance issues has resulted in a longer selling period and some significant discounting from the listing price to attract potential buyers."

Gibson said one positive had been a larger number of top end sales compared to the same time last year. He said he believed families may be taking advantage of low interest rates, increased bargaining power and a lack of competition from other buyers.

"This is the reason for the increase in the average sale price for the month of April rather than any value movement being evident," he said.

In Dunedin the average sales price for April was $272,735.


QV said a lack of sales activity in the region after the February earthquake meant the QV residential price index cannot be used to measure values in the region.

However, QV Valuations Melanie Swallow said well priced property in suburbs unaffected by the earthquake continue to generate good interest.

"Where there has been activity prices have generally held," she said.


Whangarei values are 5.2% lower than last year, Gisborne (-4.6%), New Plymouth (-4.5%), Palmerston North (-3.7%) and Invercargil (-3.9%), all have seen the largest gap in values compared to last year.

Rotorua (-1%), Hastings (-1.4%), Napier and Wanganui (-2.4%) and Queenstown Lakes (-1.3%) all have values slightly below last year.

In Nelson values have been relatively stable since January 2010 and as a result the gap between last year and this year is only -0.7%.


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