NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand house prices hit record, driven by Auckland and Christchurch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:47am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 3:47am

New Zealand house prices edged to a record high in November, with strong growth in the nation's two main cities and the central bank's lending restrictions still not being seen to have much impact, government property valuer Quotable Value said.

QV's residential property index rose 9.2 per cent in the year to November 30, compared with an 8.9 per cent annual rate in October. The index is now 11 per cent above the market's previous peak in late 2007.

The inflation-adjusted national index fell fractionally to post a 7.7 per cent annual gain, but was still 4.3 per cent higher than the market peak.

Prices in the biggest city, Auckland, and earthquake-damaged Christchurch were still leading the rest of the country, with lack of supply remaining a major factor in both cities.

Auckland prices rose 15.2 per cent in the year to November, and in Christchurch they were up 12.4 per cent in the past year, spurred by limited supply.

The agency said limits on low deposit-high value house loans by banks imposed by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in October did not appear to be having much effect on the growth in prices, but may be affecting activity.

"There are reports of fewer potential buyers at open homes, longer marketing periods and fewer auctions selling on the day," QV research director Jonno Ingerson said.

However, he said that, in Auckland, where prices are still racing ahead, the fundamental imbalance between a limited supply and growing demand would continue to drive the market upwards.