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Property values stay positive as sellers stay put: QV

New Zealand property values continued to recover lost ground and stayed above their 2008 level for a second month in a row, as sellers remain skeptical about the time it takes to sell their house.

By Paul McBeth

House values rose 1% in the 12 months ended November 30, up from a 0.20% gain in the period through October, according to QV Valuations. The average sale price increased to $393,373 from $389,198 a month earlier.

Total market activity was relatively static this year, "driven by a shortage of listings as prospective vendors decided to stay put rather than sell," said spokeswoman Glenda Whitehead.

"We expect that January and February will lead to further increases in activity and lead to more balanced market conditions."

New Zealanders are still optimistic about the housing market with the majority of respondents in an ASB confidence survey last month saying now is a good time to buy a house. Auckland house prices reached a 23-month high in November, according to the city's largest real estate agency Barfoot & Thompson, and the revival has stoked the country's economic recovery. Still, the central bank expects prices to ease, as they remain high relative to incomes.

Whitehead said more properties are entering the market, particularly in the major centres, and this should damp the upward pressure on prices as buyers compete "vigorously for the few available properties".

Returning expatriates and new migrants have underpinned demand for property in New Zealand while dwindling building consents for new property choked supply. These factors combined to artificially boost prices.

In Auckland, property values increased 3.10% in a rolling three-month period ending November 30 from 2.50% in October, while the average sale price rose to $519,051 from $506,642.

In Wellington, values increased 2.90% in the rolling three month period, from a 1.60% annual gain reported in October. The average sale price was stable at $438,584.

Christchurch property values rose 2.80% from a 1.30% gain, with the average sale price rising to $357,801 from $352,962.