Home values near record high after big jump

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National house values have made a dramatic recovery and are just under the peak of the market in 2007, official figures show.

QV’s residential property values for October, issued yesterday, show big increases since the start of this year. House values are 1.2 per cent up on last November and only 4.4 per cent below the top of the market four years ago. QV research director Jonno Ingerson said Auckland and Christchurch were the two regions driving the market.

Auckland is now only 0.1 per cent below its record peak and Mr Ingerson predicted a further lift in December. “The raw underlying data show values have continued to increase and the index next month is likely to once again show the upward trend we have seen in recent months,” he said.

Commenting on the Auckland figures, QV senior valuer Glenda Whitehead said October and November could be a turning point in the market. Selling periods appeared to be shortening and prices in many suburbs were rising, although activity was patchy.Competition for Auckland properties could be fierce, particularly in areas close to the city centre, she said.

QV southern spokesman Brendon Bodger said demand for Christchurch properties was strong, “particularly for vacant sections and small lifestyle blocks”.The QV figures confirm three other separate sets of statistics out this month. Listings site showed optimistic vendors had pushed asking prices to a record high in Auckland of $568,778, up 6 per cent on three months previously.

Real estate company Barfoot & Thompson said this month that spring had brought an increase in interest in the Auckland housing market, more homes were being listed and the average price was up.Prices in October rose by 1.1 per cent on those for September and the average price increased to $553,765. Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson said many more homes were selling this year than last year.

“The feature that was different was the number of new homes listed for the month. At 1314, this was an increase of 4 per cent on that for last month and the highest number of homes listed since March. It created greater choice and raised buyer interest,” he said.

“But for the past three months, sales numbers have been marking time, with the movement between the high and low numbers in that period being 31 homes. We expect the current stability in prices and sales volume to remain through to the end of the year,” Mr Thompson said.

At the end of last month, Barfoot had 4999 listings, 4.2 per cent more than at the end of September and the highest total since June.

Yesterday’s Bank of NZ-Real Estate Institute of NZ residential market survey also showed a rising market.

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said that overall, the housing market was moving up, but the survey showed a rise in the number of vendors wanting to make a sale. “Things have moved from broadly neutral to being more of a buyers’ market,” he said.

“But there is also strongly rising buyer interest from first-home buyers, but not from investors.”

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