The Dominion Post

Capital’s house sellers ‘need to be realistic’

- JAMES WEIR

HOME buyers in the Wellington region are ‘‘conservati­ve and cautious’’ and sellers need to set realistic price expectatio­ns, according to stateowned valuer Quotable Value.

Prices in the Wellington region remain stable, up less than 1 per cent in the year, though some areas are stronger than others.

National property values rose 5.7 per cent in the year ended January 31, according to QV figures released yesterday, with Auckland prices steaming ahead 12 per cent.

Fixed-term mortgage rates have come down a little recently, making loans more affordable. And in another positive sign for borrowers, economists expect the Reserve Bank to keep official interest rates lower for longer, per-

Source: QV haps as long as two years.

With inflation so low, the Reserve Bank is not ruling out the possibilit­y of rate cuts later this year, which could fuel overvalued Auckland prices, already buoyed by a record-breaking migration boom and growing job numbers.

Despite extremely low interest rates, as low as 5.5 per cent for two years, in the Wellington region house prices remain almost flat on a year ago, up just 0.8 per cent.

While mortgage rates are low, at the end of 2013 the Reserve Bank imposed speed limits on lending for borrowers with a low deposit of less than 20 per cent, which hit first-home buyers wanting to get into the market.

There is no sign of those limits being removed soon. Some economists think lending rules could soon be tightened for investors especially, in the face of the hot Auckland market.

QV valuer Kerry Buckeridge said that in Wellington at the end of last year there was a big lift in listings and sales , with able prices’’ achieved.

‘‘There’s been a modest upward movement in home values in Wellington City and Lower Hutt but Upper Hutt is not following that same trend.

‘‘Well-presented properties do well on the market. However, buyers continue to be conservati­ve and cautious and sellers need to set realistic price expectatio­ns.’’

Wellington central and south home values increased the most in the region since November, rising 2.4 per cent and 2.8 per cent year on year.

Wellington east was up 2.4 per cent.

But prices in Upper Hutt have fallen 2.5 per cent in the past three months and are down almost 1 per cent for the year. Auckland house price increases over the past year were more than double that of the national average.

‘‘reason-

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