New Zealand’s House Prices Rise for three months in a row

August 10, 2009

New Zealand house prices rose for the third month in July, signaling the property market is recovering and may help the economy emerge from a recession. Prices rose 0.7 percent from June and have gained 1.3 percent from a low in April, Quotable Value New Zealand Ltd., the government valuation agency, said in an e-mailed report.

Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard last month kept interest rates at a record-low 2.5 percent and said he is unlikely to raise borrowing costs until late 2010. Rising consumer confidence, housing demand and immigration are helping New Zealand recover from the recession. “There are signs that more vendors are putting their properties on the market,” Glenda Whitehead, valuation manager at Wellington-based Quotable Value, said in the report. “This is perhaps in response to reports of shortages of listings and signs that values have stopped declining.” House prices slumped last year as a result of the credit crisis and consumer confidence suffered. By March, prices were 9.3 percent lower than a year earlier. In July, prices were just 5 percent lower than a year earlier. New Zealanders are more optimistic about the housing market, with 27 percent of 600 people surveyed in July saying they expect prices will rise, ASB Bank Ltd. said in a report last week. Sixty-four percent said it was a good time to buy a home. Annual immigration growth accelerated to the highest level in more than two years in June, while house sales rose 40 percent. Consumer confidence rose to an 18-month high in the second quarter, according to a survey by Westpac Bank.