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07-10-2010

Canterbury market returning to normal: QV

Landlords.co.nz

The majority of the Canterbury housing market appears to be returning to normal after the September 4 earthquake, according to QV.

By Maddy Milicich

Research director Jonno Ingerson says although the earthquake lead to a "significant downturn in the number of house sales in Canterbury...there are positive signs of normal market activity now beginning to return, especially in less affected areas of Christchurch".

That is despite banks, insurance companies and potential buyers all still carrying out careful due diligence and seeking reassurances of the structural integrity of properties, which is inevitably slowing down the sales process.

However, how values have been affected by the earthquake is still as yet unknown.

"There were insufficient sales in Canterbury in September to create statistically valid indices, so we are unable to gauge how house values have been affected since the quake," Ingerson says.

Last month, values in Christchurch remained 3.2% above last year.

Ingerson says the lack of Canterbury data will not have significantly affected the national index, as values in Christchurch prior to the earthquake were showing similar trends to other main urban areas.

Values continue to gradually decline throughout the country and although QV is expecting listings to increase, it is anticipating that sales volumes will remain flat.

Values are now 5.3% below the market peak of late 2007. After dropping 9.6% from the peak to a low point in April 2009, values recovered throughout the rest of 2009 and early 2010. However since March, values have begun to ease back again.

"Value trends are particularly variable at the moment, with different patterns emerging in response to local conditions," Ingerson says.

"Main urban area values appear to be stabilizing, but there is variation between cities and across the price range. Values in the provincial centres have been flat for several months now, while in the rural areas house values continue to slide back."

Looking ahead, QV expects the current trends will continue over coming months.

"While the number of new listings is likely to increase through spring and summer, we don't expect sales volumes to increase dramatically," Ingerson says.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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