Marlborough Property Investors' Association

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House prices fall but signs point to 'slight' recovery


National property values have dipped again this month - but the slide may be bottoming out, according to figures from Quotable Value.

Last month's statistics show a 6.8 per cent decline in national values compared with the same time last year. That decrease is the same as reported in October. The average sale price dropped from $379,290 to $375,408.

But it is the first time since August last year that the annual change in property values has not dropped further than in the previous month.

QV spokesman Blue Hancock said it was too soon to say the market was recovering, but the change was positive and "we may be seeing signs of a slight spring recovery".

The economic climate - with interest rates falling at the same time as banks tightened lending criteria - would have a major impact on whether the market would pick up. But the silly season would also be an indicator.

"The strength of the Christmas retail season will be a good indicator of public sentiment and how hard the recession is hitting," Mr Hancock said. "Many businesses are feeling the pinch, and uncertainty over job security will be a major factor in whether people buy or sell property."

The housing market peaked late last year before plateauing for about six months. Most of the 6.8 per cent fall in prices happened over the winter months.

"House values are now at the same level as March 2007 and remain higher for most people who purchased prior to that.

In Auckland property values are down 7.4 per cent compared with the same time last year - a slight recovery from the October annual drop of 7.7 per cent decline. The average sale price was $494,136.

Hamilton recovered slightly from negative 9 per cent to negative 8.5 per cent and in the Wellington area house prices were down 6 per cent from nearly the same as the month before.


* 7.4 per cent - annual decline in Auckland house prices November-November.
* 7.7 per cent - decline October-October.
* First time since August 2007 that the annual decline has been less than the previous month.
* $375,408 - average national sale price.
* $494,136 - average Auckland sale price.