7 Sep 2009

House prices rise as more buyers enter market

3:12 pm on 7 September 2009

Property values are edging closer to where they were last year, latest Quotable Value figures show.

In the latest QV index, calculated over the three months to August, property values were 2.8% below the same period last year, an improvement on the 5% difference reported in the July index.

The national average sale price increased from $382,758 in July to $385,426 in August.

QV valuation manager Glenda Whitehead says prices were driven up in the winter period by more buyers than usual chasing a lower number of listings.

There is likely to be more equilibrium in coming months, she says, as a greater number of houses are listed for sale in spring.

Fragile job security, a lack of wage growth and an expected increase in houses for sale will ensure the spike in August doesn't become a boom, Ms Whitehead says.

Massey University researcher Bob Hargreaves says anyone who bought property during the peak of house prices has a long wait before prices reach similar levels again.

Professor Hargreaves says there are a high number of potential buyers on the market trying to take advantage of lower interest rates, but banks are also tightening lending criteria.