House price rises slow - again

For a second consecutive month, annual house price inflation abated in March, although it still remains in double digits, according to Quotable Value’s figures.

Monday, April 10th 2006, 12:28AM

by Jenny Ruth

They show the average national house price in March was 14.8% higher than in March last year, down from February’s 15.3% annual increase and January’s 16.8% rise.

Previously, the annual rate of increase had been accelerating since the 12.1% annual increase shown in March last year.

QV spokesman Mark Dow says this March’s increase is the lowest since the 14.5% rise reported last October.

But he warns against reading too much into the figures.

“Although we’re reporting a slowdown in the growth rate, there isn’t any area in the country where we are seeing falls in property values compared to the same period 12 months ago,” Dow says.

“It just reflects slowing market activity where demand is less and there isn’t the same pressure on buyers to keep pushing prices up at the levels we’ve seen over the past couple of years.”

Dunedin was the only main centre that recorded an increase in growth compared to last month, with a growth in property values of 10.4% up from 9.8%. The other main centres all saw slight falls in the growth rate, with Hamilton properties growing in value by 25.1%, Christchurch 15.9%, Wellington 12.6% and Auckland 9.4%.

Growth remains strong in some major provincial cities with Gisborne’s annual average price up 35.2%, Rotorua’s up 31.5%, Whangarei’s up 29.9%, Hamilton’s up 25.1% and Palmerston North’s up 20.9%.

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