The housing market had eased slightly but valuers say home buyers are likely to come back in force now that that spring is here and the election is over.

New Zealand's largest valuation and property services company, Quotable Value's (QV) latest monthly figures show national house values are up 6.4 per cent in September compared to last year. House values increased 1.1 per cent over the past three months and the national average house price was now $481,497.

QV's index showed house prices continued to improve although the rate of growth was slowing, says national spokeswoman Andrea Rush.  "Following a lull in sales activity and low listings in the lead-up to the election, the election result coupled with the coming of spring and stable interest rates is bringing renewed interest and activity to the market," she said.

How do New Zealand's regions compare?

Auckland region

In the Auckland region, where the housing supply is low, property values continued to rise over winter, up 1.8 per cent over the past three months and 10.3 per cent year on year.

Values rose throughout the Auckland region and were up nearly 34 per cent since 2007, the previous market peak.

According to QV valuer Bruce Wiggins, even with the increased activity being reported in the market, he added that those looking to trade up from their first home might still struggle.

"For example a home bought three years ago in the $400,000s could now be sold for around $700,000. However, the next step could be around $1 million and for some this may be a step too far in terms of required borrowing."

Hamilton

Hamilton house prices were down 0.9 per cent over the past three months, but were up 2.7 per cent year on year. There was a lack of quality stock in well-established areas, predominantly in the central and north west of Hamilton, which was driving prices, said QV valuer Nicky Harris.

With the availability of Welcome Home Loans, Harris said there were more first-home buyers "but this has not yet appeared to have had an effect on values as buyers are still cautious".

Tauranga

Property values in Tauranga were flat over the past three months, but had risen 4.5 per cent year on year.

There was increased interest among investors and at the top end of the market, according to local QV valuer Mairi Macdonald.

"There's increasing interest from first-home buyers as banks relax lending criteria and increase flexibility and there's also increased confidence in the market since the election, now that the result has created certainty," she said.

Wellington

The trend in house values in the Wellington region continue slightly downwards, falling 0.9 per cent over the past three months but up 0.3 per cent in the last year.

The market was steady with good activity at the top end, over-$1 million, according to QV Wellington valuer Pieter Geill.

Low-deposit loan restrictions were still having affecting first-home buyers. "There is also an element of over-pricing with sellers' expectations higher than what buyers are willing to pay," Geill said.

Christchurch

In the Christchurch market, house values in the city appeared to lose traction over winter, up just 0.3 per cent over the past three months, although they were still 5.1 per cent higher year on year.

Even though the market was quitere, QV valuer Daryl Taggart said the attitude was upbeat in the city and the market had kicked into gear over the last four weeks. There was a lot more interest in recent auctions and most of the properties had sold on the day, he said.

Dunedin

House values have risen just 0.3 per cent over the past three months in Dunedin city and 1.7 per cent year on year.

The property market in Dunedin remained steady with low sales, but there were early signs of a spring increase in listings and interest, said QV Southern Manager Tim Gibson.

Source: Stuff.co.nz