Residential property prices flattened in the past few months and are even easing back in many areas, latest figures from property valuation company QV indicate.
Property values across the country in March were 6.1 percent ahead of a year earlier, according to QV's residential property indices. The values were also 3.9 percent below the market peak of late 2007, unchanged from February.
The national average sales price in March fell to $407,133 from $416,074 in February.
While the average price was a rough indicator of value, it was a less reliable measure of change than the QV index, as averages could be biased depending on which part of the market was active, QV said.
The year-on-year rise was stronger in Auckland than the rest of the country, with the whole Auckland metropolitan area recording an increase of 9.9 percent, compared to March 2009.
In the Wellington area the rise was 6.6 percent, in Christchurch it was 6.9 percent, 7.3 percent in Dunedin, 3.8 percent in Hamilton, and just 0.1 percent in Tauranga.
New Plymouth was up 7.6 percent, Palmerston North gained 7.3 percent, Nelson lifted 5.4 percent, Invercargill 4.7 percent, Rotorua and Gisborne 4.5 percent, Wanganui just 0.5 percent, while Whangarei had a decline of 1.1 percent and Queenstown Lakes was down 1.8 percent.
Glenda Whitehead of QV Valuations said values had eased during the past few months in all the main centres, despite being up on the same time a year ago.
Around this time last year the market had been at a pivot point, it had stopped going down and was about to start rising, she said.
Now it was quite different to the way it was in the second half of 2009.
"Not only have values remained relatively flat for the past few months, but the urgency amongst buyers has all but gone," Ms Whitehead said.
Buyers appeared to be holding back as concerns lingered about job security, bank funding was perceived to be difficult to secure, and people waited to hear about expected tax changes.
February and March had the usual seasonal rise in new listings, meaning buyers had more choice but sales activity remained relatively subdued, she said.
The range of factors affecting the property market remained finely balanced, and how they changed in the coming months would determine which way the market went. QV expected values to remain relatively stable rather than decline significantly.