PHOTO/SUPPLIED

More locals buying Wairarapa homes

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

The Carterton property market was little changed in the three months to July while Masterton, South Wairarapa and Tararua continued to post gains in line with most regional property markets continuing to outperform cities.

The national property market had been gradually slowing since the beginning of 2018 but remained supported by low inventory and mortgage interest rates and was neutral this winter, commentators said.

But CoreLogic NZ Head of Research Nick Goodall said in regions where inventory was tight, prices continued to rise, albeit at a generally slower rate than in the past three years.

Tararua had an average property value of $243,650 in July, up 5.5 per cent in the past three months and 18.2 per cent in the past year.

In Masterton the average value of $389,489 was up 2.3 per cent in the past three months and 11.1 per cent in the past year. In South Wairarapa the average value of $528,532 was up 3.3 10.7 per cent in the year.

The average value in Carterton District of $434,115 was down 0.1 per cent in the last three months but is still up 10.3 per cent from a year ago.

Benn Milne from Property Brokers said the company had noticed more locals buying homes in Featherston.

In the past just about everyone at an open home in Featherston was from Wellington, but at one recently about a third were locals.

He said locals were looking to trade up, having made gains.

Also, some people who had moved to Featherston from Wellington had decided they liked Wairarapa and either got local employment or had become more confident about the commute to Wellington and had moved further north in the region to either Carterton or Masterton.

According to CoreLogic data, Wairarapa property values still had a way to go to catch up with gains elsewhere over longer periods.

Since the 2007 market peak, there had been a 36.3 per cent gain in values in Masterton, 55.8 per cent in Carterton, 56.3 per cent in South Wairarapa and 38.2 per cent in Tararua, CoreLogic said.

But values in Papakura in Auckland were still up 110 per cent since the 2007 peak and across the Auckland region they were up 88.2 per cent.

Goodall said the 2.9 per cent fall from a peak value in March 2018 in Auckland should be put into a longer-term context of 42 per cent total growth during the past five years.

Unaffordability, as well as the removal of foreign buyers continued to impact the market in Auckland. This is particularly true of the North Shore, where values were 4.3 per cent down in the last year and 5.2 per cent down from the peak in February 2018.

But Goodall said investors were active in the Wellington region, being responsible for 37 per cent of sales in the second quarter compared with 33 per cent in the first quarter.

This could be a reflection of a lift in confidence after the ruling out of a comprehensive capital gains tax back in April.

Goodall said it was important to note first home buyers are still a key player in the wider Wellington market and in some areas a third of sales were to first-time buyers.