According to the latest data from the OneRoof Valocity House Value Index, taken at the end of January, property values across the country are up by 0.9 per cent compared to three months ago.
OneRoof’s latest House Price Report showed property values were up quarter-on-quarter in 90 per cent of suburbs nationwide, with the biggest quarterly lifts in Arrowtown, Mataura and Whitford.
Of the 793 suburbs with 20-plus settled sales in the last 12 months, more than 40 per cent saw year-on-year value lifts, reflecting the turnaround in the market.
Rotorua suburbs with more than 20 settled sales in the year ending January 31 included Hamurana, where property values increased by 2.1 per cent in the last three months to $1.23 million.
Western Heights saw the second-highest three-month increase in suburb property value, a difference of 2 per cent.
Rotorua Professionals McDowell Real Estate principal and auctioneer Steve Lovegrove said the post-summer, early autumn season was normally a busy one for real estate.
“The good news for everybody is that prices seem to be mostly stable, certainly not going backwards and probably increasing,” Lovegrove told the Rotorua Daily Post.
“We are starting to see the green shoots of property price increases.”
Lovegrove said there was also a lift in the stock available.
“So buyers do have a little more choice and less need to act urgently. We’re seeing a little bit of lag in decision-making and a significant lift in buyers actively entering the marketplace.”
Lovegrove said there was more competition for properties in the $500,000 to $700,000 value range.
“Anything just below that average price is getting hit quite hard with active buyers, mostly first-home buyers.”
Lovegrove said there was also a trend of people looking to downsize which also saw more buyers looking in the lower price ranges.
“There’s a lot of confidence, a positive vibe and a positive outlook looking forward. We’re not expecting a rapid price increase. We are expecting simply more confidence.”
Tremains central region general manager Stuart Christensen said there was more property coming onto the market.
“More people have decided to make a move. Westpac dropped their interest rates on Friday. All those are encouraging signs,” Christensen said.
“We are seeing an increasing number of people at our open homes. So there’s appetite to come out and a good number of first-home buyers are out there.”
Christensen said first-home buyers did have a window to make their decisions, however, as investors were coming gradually back into the market as well.
“Overall there’s a lot more positivity. It’s a new year. People are out looking for a move whether they are upsizing, downsizing or entering the market for the first time.”
The news comes after New Zealand’s average property value grew just 0.9 per cent in the three months to the end of November to $973,000, as buyers retreated from the market after a busy November and October.
Valocity global chief executive of real estate Helen O’Sullivan said sales volumes in December were lower than had been anticipated, given the lift in October and November, although they were up year-on-year.
Valocity data showed mortgages registered to first-home buyers in the last quarter of the year dipped to 44 per cent from the five-year high of 45 per cent the previous quarter. Mortgages registered to investors increased slightly from 22.4 per cent to 23.6 per cent over the same period.
O’Sullivan said the Reserve Bank’s announcement around debt-to-income ratios was unlikely to have an impact on the current market.
“The proposed settings are not expected to make a significant difference to prices or activity levels in the current high-interest rate environment,” she said.
“When interest rates are lower, [debt-to-income ratios] will limit the level of debt borrowers can assume despite being able to service the debt.”
Maryana Garcia is a regional reporter writing for the Rotorua Daily Post and the Bay of Plenty Times. She covers local issues, health and crime.
House prices in Northern Ireland increased by 2.9 per cent to reach an average of £207,010 (€242,534) in the final quarter of last year, according to research from Ulster University.
The findings from the latest Northern Ireland Quarterly House Price Index show prices remained stable and continued to edge higher throughout 2023. This trend continued in the last three months of 2023 as the average house price increased by 0.4 per cent.
The research also shows signs of slowing market activity with transactions at their lowest level over the year, decreasing 26 per cent on the previous quarter.
“While the seasonal effects of Christmas and New Year traditionally see a slowing of market activity, a slight dip in buyer confidence remained in the last quarter of 2023 as the uncertainty of interest rates acted as a key factor for mortgage holders and prospective buyers alike,” the report noted.
“Encouragingly, the recent decision to keep the interest rate stable at 5.25 per cent is seemingly paving the way for more attractive mortgage deals.”
The data also shows minor declines in the cost of fixed, variable, and tracker rate mortgages during the final quarter of the year, indicating this trend could continue softening rates throughout 2024.
“Lenders are motivated to build their loan books and attract customers, meaning that new borrowers or those remortgaging during 2024 may benefit from appealing deals and rates available,” the report said.
Separately, Northern Ireland has been named as the fastest-growing region in the UK for newly registered companies in 2023 in a new index from Ulster Bank and Beauhurst.
The boom in the number of start-ups was noted in the New Startup Index which found that Northern Ireland gained 14,000 new companies in 2023, which was a 59 per cent increase on 2022.
Belfast was hailed as the fastest-growing council area in the UK by number of newly registered companies, with a 123 per cent increase in the number of new businesses.
Causeway Coast and Glens, and Lisburn and Castlereagh also made the top 10 by growth in the number of companies incorporated, with the number of new businesses growing by 61 per cent and 54 per cent respectively since 2022.
The retail sector was responsible for the largest rise in the number of new businesses in Northern Ireland with 3,605 new companies set up.
Mark Crimmins, head of Ulster Bank, said: “These new ventures are predominantly small businesses, owned and run by local people, which will play an important role in supporting the growth of Northern Ireland’s economy.”
The rise in new businesses in Northern Ireland is a trend that is replicated across the UK. Some 900,000 new companies were incorporated in the UK in 2023, making it a record year for new businesses.
At a UK-level, the growth in female-founded businesses also continues to increase year on year, with a record 164,000 companies incorporated by women in 2023, up 4 per cent on 2022 and taking growth in the five years between 2019 and 2023 to 26 per cent overall.