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QV commentary shows values dropping

With the property market in slow-down mode, prices are dropping in all the main urban centres. Hamilton shows the greatest easing of values for February, with Tauranga showing the smallest drop.

Monday, March 10th 2008, 12:00AM

by The Landlord

Main Urban Areas Commentary:
To find out exactly what's happening in your area, use these links:


All statistics are calculated over the three month period ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year.

Property values in the Auckland region increased by 8.1% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year). The average sale price for the region increased to $518,085 compared to $507,728 recorded last month.

"Annual growth rates continue to ease across the entire Auckland region dropping between 0.7% and 2.8%. We expect this trend to continue over the coming months," said Glenda Whitehead of QV Valuations.

"Of the main urban centres North Shore City experienced the largest drop in annual growth going from 11.1% to 8.3% despite recording the highest average sale price in the Auckland region of $598,131. Auckland City eased only 0.7% from 7.9% to 7.2%, with an average sale price of $589,265. Manukau City eased 2.1% to 9.2% annual growth, with an average sale price of $446,772. Waitakere City was down 1.3% to 9.4% annual growth, and has an average sale price of $406,327," said Whitehead.

"Our valuers have noticed increased caution in the market place. There appears to be a reduced number of active buyers and those that are purchasing are doing so with caution. The vendor-buyer expectation gap remains, with many buyers influenced by market commentary of a slowing property market, and therefore keeping that gap open. Some buyers are even using the predictions of large drops in property values to lower their current offers," said Whitehead.

"Properties are taking longer to sell and some vendors are waiting for the right buyer. After a long period of low levels of sales listings, there are now noticeably more, and this is compounding with a slower turn-over of properties. There has also been an increase in the number of properties being advertised with wording indicating that vendors are in financial stress," said Whitehead.

"Our valuers are doing more maintenance and advisory type work at the moment as people roll over their mortgages, seek advice about their renovations, or seek pre sale advice," said Whitehead.

"Interest rates are definitely impacting on the property market. The residential investment market seems to be faring poorly, not surprisingly, with rental returns typically in the 4% to 6% range and first mortgage rates close to 10%. Others to be impacted are those who did not budget for the rate rises that have occurred" said Whitehead.

"The levelling off of the market presents opportunities for first home buyers, and those who cashed up last year based on predictions that the market would correct itself in the near future. Many of QV's valuation clients, who own property, are taking a wait-and-see approach, especially those who have been through previous market cycles."

Property values in Hamilton increased by 6.1% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year). The average sale price for the city was $360,879 down from $363,261 in January.

"Declining sales volumes, a good supply of properties on the market, and the impact of increasing interest rates and decreasing immigration continue to put downward pressure on residential values in the city. For the first time in a number of years there is an over supply of residential properties on the market in Hamilton. Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some instances agents are declining listings if vendors have unrealistic price expectations" said Richard Allen of QV Valuations.

"Hamilton’s residential property value growth continued to slide with significant decreases in both annual property value growth and average sale prices for most parts of the city. Across the whole city, the annual property value growth decreased to 6.1% from 8.3% in January. The Central City/North West area of Hamilton decreased from 6.4 % in January to 4.5% in February, the South West decreased from 8.0% to 5.5%, Hamilton North East decreased from 10.0% to 6.6% and South East Hamilton decreased from 7.3% to 5.8%. The average sale price in the city also decreased for the third consecutive month from $363,261 to $360,879," said Allen.

"With demand continuing to soften in most areas it will be interesting to see if there is further downward pressure on prices. At this stage the general feeling is that sale prices are likely to fall a little more before leveling out."

Property values in Tauranga City increased by 2.9% (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year), down on the 3.4% reported for January. The average sale price for the city was $425,007.

"There is now widespread acceptance that the property market is quieter. Rising interest rates are helping to fuel uncertainty amongst both buyers and sellers. Lower than expected sale prices are now coming through with more regularity," said Shayne Donovan-Grammer of QV Valuations.

"There is an abundance of stock available with some categories and locations faring better than others. Our valuers have commented that the apartment market, both in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga is performing poorly," said Donovan-Grammer.

Property values in the Wellington region increased by 10.0% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year), down from 11.0% reported last month. The average sale price for the region increased from $445,859 last month to $457,530 this month.

“The market changed significantly in September 2007 and as a result there are now fewer buyers, more properties for sale, longer selling times, and less sales taking place. Property values have been slow to respond to the changing market but we are starting to see the end of a very strong run of value increases," said Max Meyers of QV Valuations.

"The changes in the market are impacting more noticeably on lower priced properties and therefore we are still seeing higher average and median sale prices. For the Wellington region the latest figures show an increase in property value growth of 10.0%, ranging from a low in Wellington's Eastern suburbs of 8.0% to a high in Porirua of 12.2%. While property values in the greater Wellington region are still showing good 'year on year' growth figures, the rate of growth has slowed from a peak of 16.5% reported in August 2007. This easing trend is expected to continue for the next few months, and while a decline in value for the whole region is not yet evident, it is already happening in some areas. Across the cities in the region between 33% and 50% of properties are selling below their August/September 2007 rating values" said Meyers.

"All areas are showing declining annual growth rates. The biggest change has been in Lower Hutt which has dropped from a Sept 2007 high of 20.4% to 9.9% in February 2008. The suburbs showing the most declines are Stokes Valley, Taita, Avalon, Western Hills, Petone and Wainuiomata. Upper Hutt also dropped from an August 2007 high of 21.5% to 13.4% in February 2008, with the Rimutaka area being the weakest market," said Meyers.

"Wellington City has dropped from a July 2007 high of 14.7% to 9.2% in February. The areas showing the weakest markets are Churton Park/Johnsonville, Kelburn/Northland, Karori, Brooklyn/Kingston, and Miramar/Strathmore Park," said Meyers.

"Porirua City has dropped from a September 2007 high of 16.7% to 12.2% in February. It appears that this market is doing better than most with the weakest areas being Papakowhai, Whitby and Onepoto," said Meyers.

"Average sale prices are continuing to increase across the region. The highest average sale price is in Wellington's Eastern Suburbs at $597,566 increasing $30,230 for the month. The lowest average sale price is in Kapiti, which at $363,702 remains unchanged from last month," said Meyers.

"The outlook is for a period of much lower property value growth, with some areas falling back slightly. This is not expected to be dramatic as we have full employment and good demand for properties in most areas."

Property values in Christchurch increased by 6.1% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year) down from 6.9% reported last month. The average sale price for the city decreased to $362,927 from $367,681 reported in January.

"The belief that the housing market is slowing appears to have become entrenched, with the sixth consecutive month of decreasing annual growth rates. In February the average sale price for Christchurch also dropped back from its January peak of $367,681 to $362,927," said Richard Kolff of QV Valuations.

"There appears to be something of a standoff in the market at present. Sellers, where possible, are battening down the hatches waiting for signs that the market will stabilise, and buyers are holding back because of the possibility of losing money in a softening market," said Kolff.

"Property developers in particular are curtailing their activities. In this slowing market greater uncertainty of profit and bigger potential for loss is making property development a less attractive proposition. In addition, the recent problems in the finance sector are making funds harder to come by," said Kolff.

"Annual growth rates continue to decline reflecting the recent downturn in the market. In the local areas the lowest annual growth rates recorded were 5.6% and 5.2% for Christchurch’s northern suburbs and hill suburbs respectively. Southern areas faired the best, with Ashburton recording growth of 11.0% and Timaru 13.0% growth compared to the same period last year."

Dunedin’s residential property values increased by 5.3% over the past year (calculated over the three months ending February 2008 in comparison to the same period last year), down from 6.1% reported last month. The average sale price in Dunedin was $280,121.

"Value growth has continued to ease as predicted. This downward trend in growth started in August last year and with the recent interest rate increases we expect this will continue well into the year. This trend is consistent with all the main centres in New Zealand," said David Paterson of QV Valuations.

"While the statistics do not show values are dropping, there is evidence of prices easing in some instances, particularly for properties that require some attention in the way of deferred maintenance, or those with design features that do not suit the wider market. These properties would generally sell well in a buoyant market, but under normal market conditions would attract a more significant discount," said Paterson.

"The market is now far more favourable for the buyer because of the high number of listings and the reduced demand. Sellers on the other hand need to be sure they are realistic with their asking prices and depending on their circumstances should be prepared to consider any offer that is close to expectations."

« Property prices could go backwards: QVSlowdown continues for property values »

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