Average house values across the country have eased back during the past month, but several regional areas in the South remain in double-digit growth.

However, affordability for first-home buyers continues to be a major issue in the South, as values and median prices continue to rise, albeit at a slower rate.

Nationally, the rate of annual growth has dropped from 3.5% in June last year to 2% this year, while the rate of quarterly value growth has dropped to 0.1%, according to Quotable Value's data for June.

Around the South Island Waimate led quarterly growth data, up 10.8%, followed by Invercargill, up 3.3%, and Marlborough, up 3%, while for annual growth, Southland led, up 14.1%, followed by Invercargill, up 13.3%, and Clutha, 11%.

QV general manager David Nagel said as anticipated for this time of year, there was a lack of real impetus in the market overall.

''With affordability continuing to be a major constraint, location is becoming increasingly relevant.

''It's the outskirts of city centres that continue to see plenty of activity, particularly from first-home buyers,'' he said.

QV's property consultant in Dunedin Tom Patterson said Dunedin residential values continued to show steady growth.

The Dunedin South and Taieri areas recorded strong annual increases of 13.8% and 13.5% respectively, reflecting the prevalence of investors and first-home buyers in the residential market.

''There's also a good level of demand for residential properties in the low-to-medium price bracket,'' Mr Patterson said in a statement.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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