February 8, 2018 / 4:04 PM / a year ago

New Zealand house prices rise 6.4 pct in January - QV

WELLINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - New Zealand house prices surged for the third month in a row in January, with the commercial centre of Auckland posting its fastest growth in more than a year, the government property valuer said on Friday.

Quotable Value’s (QV) residential property price index rose 6.4 percent in the year to January, compared with an annual rate of 6.6 percent in the previous month.

Values in the commercial centre of Auckland rose 0.7 percent and have jumped 1.6 percent in the past three months, the highest rate of growth since November 2016 when the previously red hot market started to run out of steam.

The robust growth in the past three months was in stark contrast to a slowdown from around the middle of the year as sentiment was dampened by uncertainty over an election in September, which ushered in a new Labour-led government.

Buyers were also encouraged by the central bank’s announcement in November that it would pare back its macro-prudential mortgage lending curbs at the start of 2018.

“The easing of the LVR (loan to value ratio) restrictions for both investors and home buyers this month, along with continued strong net migration, low interest rates, and a shortage of housing supply means it’s likely we can expect moderate value growth to continue during February and March which are annually the busiest months in the housing market,” said QV general manager David Nagel. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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