Rateable Values: Auckland region home values drop, Hamilton's rise.

Auckland's housing market is showing signs of cooling off.

A shortage of houses for sale in Auckland may force prices to rise again, a real estate agent says.  Bayleys national residential manager Daniel Coulson says values will stabilise, or steadily increase, if current low stock levels remain the same.

However, he predicted it would increase at a "less aggressive rate than what we saw last year."

So, while Auckland's red-hot housing market cools off, the decrease in housing values may be short-lived.

The average value in the Auckland region is now $925,656, however houses in the former Auckland City Council suburbs are still up over the $1 million mark, QV figures show.

Values increased 17.8 per cent on a year ago, but decreased 0.7 per cent over the past three months.

However, house values are 69.4 per cent higher than the previous peak of 2007.

Coulson said many driving factors still remained, including historic low interest rates, a shortage of supply and positive net migration.

"[And] these things all contribute to value growth across the Auckland region...

"I believe we will see stabilisation continue, if not a slight increase in values. We are anticipating single digit, not the double digit growth that we had last year.  There was a "little less urgency" from buyers, Coulson said.

"[This is] purely because prices aren't increasing as aggressively as last year, meaning their affordability isn't being diminished if they don't purchase something right this second."

Bayleys had seen strong numbers at open homes across Auckland since the end of January - the period Coulson called "the start of the selling season".

"Auctions still remain the most reliable in terms of generating competition among buyers although in some cases, if expectations aren't met on auction day, a deal is concluded in a short time frame afterward."

As Auckland's housing market shows signs of cooling off, other major centres around the country are beginning to reap the benefits, as are areas within commuting distance of New Zealand's largest city.

The average value for a house in New Zealand is now $556,306.

QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said home values in the main centres were increasing.

"There continues to be strong growth in home values in Whangarei, Tauranga, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington and Queenstown. Values in Christchurch and Dunedin are also rising at a more moderate pace.
"Regional areas within commuting distance to Auckland are also still benefiting from buyers looking for more affordable housing or rental property and values are up more than 5 per cent in the Kaipara, Waikato and Hauraki Districts over the past three months."
Outside of Auckland, home values decreased in Stratford, Ashburton, Waimate and the West Coast districts of Buller and Grey, Rush said,
"The drop in values in the Auckland region is a continuation of the softening in the market seen late last year, when measures to curb investors were introduced.

"However over the past couple of weeks, activity levels have started to pick up across the super city, so it's possible the drop in values may be short lived."

The number of house listings remained low in most parts of the country, despite more properties coming onto the market in February, Rush said.

Nationally, residential property values increased 0.1 per cent over the past three months and are now 34.3 per cent higher than the previous market peak in late 2007.

Auckland City suburbs decreased by 0.6 per cent over the past three months, but rose 16 per cent year on year.

The average value there is now $1,088,811.

Waitakere City home values dropped the most - down 2.2 per cent over the past three months, to an average of $731,065. 

Meanwhile, values in the Rodney District rose 2.9 per cent over the past three months, to an average $825,031. 

QV  registered valuer James Wilson said: "Whilst activity levels remain low compared to the first nine months of 2015, the 'wait and see' approach that began late last year appears to be subsiding among investors and many now appear willing to re-enter the market."
"Auction campaigns are still producing lower clearance rates than that of mid to late 2015, however post auction negotiations are proving successful in increasing numbers, attendance is also up and clearance rates are rising."
The apartment market continued to strengthen - in particular modern, recently completed complexes or "off plan" apartment purchases, Wilson said.

Home values across Hamilton City were rising fast - up 4.6 per cent over the past three months and 22 per cent on a year ago.

The average value in the city now is $455,966.

Values in the Waikato District were also accelerating - rising a whopping 8.4 per cent over the past three months and 22.8 per cent for the year.. 
There was a shortage of rentals up for grabs, particularly with students returning for university and newcomers to the city starting new jobs, Hamilton valuer Stephen Hare said said. 

From Stuff.co.nz