5 Jul 2017

Auckland house price increase at five-year low

10:47 am on 5 July 2017

Auckland house prices are growing at the slowest annual rate in about five years as tough restrictions and high prices lock people out of the market.

An auction sign outside a house for sale in Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Data from Quotable Value (QV) for the 12 months to June shows national residential property values rose 8.1 percent - the slowest annual growth since March 2015.

The national average now sits at $639,051, up from $634,018, in May.

In Auckland, the annual growth rate, at 7.2 percent, was the slowest since September 2012.

QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said the Auckland market continued to hold steady with the average value across the region remaining at just over $1 million.

"High prices coupled with banks' stricter lending criteria are making it increasingly difficult for anyone but cash buyers or those with higher levels of equity to buy property."

Ms Rush said developers were also feeling the pinch.

"It has also become much more difficult for developers to gain finance to build new homes, which is now leading to a slow-down in building activity in the market."

Hamilton and Tauranga prices were rising after a soft spot earlier in the year, the rate of growth had pulled back in Wellington and prices in Christchurch were flat.

"Values in regional centres such as the Kaipara District north of Auckland, Hawke's Bay, Nelson and the Tasman District are now seeing stronger value growth than the main centres as buyers look to the regions in search of more affordable homes."

She said the rate of growth may hold around current levels as the September election draws closer.

CoreLogic senior research analyst Nick Goodall said the number of first-time buyers had reached a new low in Auckland because it was more difficult to get a mortgage.

Non-cash buyers were affected by the tighter bank lending criteria and interest rates starting to pick up, as well as the problem of "sheer affordability" in Auckland, he said.

Mr Goodall said the volume of house sales in Auckland had fallen 30 percent in a year.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs