Quarterly housing data reflects a continued easing in values as homes in the South dial back from double-digit growth to single-digit gains for the quarter to March.

 Quotable Value data reveals all but one of 27 townships around Otago and suburbs in Dunedin posted gains for the year to March of between a minimum 10.1% (Oamaru’s South Hill) up to Cromwell’s 19.3% gain.

Conversely, for the quarter to March, none of the 27 areas touched 10% for the period.

Both Quotable Value data and that of the Real Estate Institute, show a cooling in the respective values and prices during the quarterly period, when compared with larger gains a year earlier.

Other data for both building consent issuance and building work put in place recently has reflected some easing trends in recent weeks, but with expectations Auckland’s construction sector will pick up, while Christchurch’s wanes as the rebuild starts to end.

QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush said annualised quarterly growth in Queenstown had slowed from 30.7% to 23.7% and was now at the top of the market; albeit the Queenstown high end bracket was still posting "significant gains".

"We are now seeing a levelling off in value growth from the previously unsustainably high levels of annual value growth of 30% plus," Ms Rush  said.

The flattening of value growth could also be seen in the quarterly suburb statistics from the first quarter of the year, Ms Rush said.

She said the average growth across the suburbs had slowed from 2016 peaks and the value growth now was being held up by the higher value end of the property market.

"There have been a number of record sales in the high end bracket of the Queenstown property market.

"While this end of the market was slower to rise back when the market started picking up after the last election,  it’s now in its stride and seeing significant gains," she said.

At the lower end of the market, values were rising but not as quickly as last year and there continued to be a lack of supply of vacant land, which was also the case in regional centres such as Cromwell, Ms Rush said.

QV’s Dunedin valuer Aidan Young said there were also signs of a slowdown in the rate of value increase in Dunedin, as was being seen in most other parts of the country.

"Current interest rate trends, the official cash rate level, upcoming national elections, and the winter months where Dunedin typically sees less properties for sale, may all be contributing to the current slowing in the rate of value increases," he said.

Investor activity around Dunedin remained "subdued", CoreLogic having reported the lowest activity during the past 12 years in Dunedin.

Anecdotally, Mr Young said discussions with investors, agents and clients indicated there had been a slowing of investor activity.

While the interest was still there, with inquiries remaining strong,

finance  remained the biggest hurdle.

"The decrease in investor activity may be due to the LVR (loan to value ratio restrictions)  and the policies of some of the major trading banks when it comes to financing investment properties," Mr Young said.

He said first-home buyers remained active within the Dunedin property market. The increasing of the Welcome Home Loan caps and income thresholds introduced in August 2016 to $400,000 had allowed first-home buyers to enter into another band of the market previously out of reach.

"The Dunedin housing market continues to offers a much lower entry level and price point than the other centres," Mr Young said.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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