WELLINGTON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s housing market picked up in October amid signs that activity is slowly improving throughout the country, government property valuer Quotable Value (QV) said on Wednesday.
QV said its residential property index was up 1.2 percent on the same month a year ago, but the market was still struggling to gain momentum.
“While there has been a slight increase in new listings in many areas, this has yet to translate into an increase in the number of sales,” said QV research director Jonno Ingerson.
The housing market has been in the doldrums since the economy emerged from recession in mid-2009, and QV’s index remains 4.4 percent below its peak in late 2007.
Ingerson said a rise in sales could be expected, based on past experience, but it may not occur until early next year.
The average sale price, which is not used to calculate the main index, over the three months to October rose 1.2 percent to NZ$399,821 ($317,318) compared to a month earlier.
Prices in Auckland, the country’s biggest population and commercial centre, rose 2.7 percent on a year ago and are now close to their highest ever level.
In Christchurch, the country’s second-biggest city, which was badly damaged by an earthquake on Feb. 22, values rose 3.4 percent over the past three months, helped by demand for properties in undamaged areas.
The capital city of Wellington is showing the first signs of an increase after falling during the first half of the year, while increases were noted also in a growing number of provincial cities. (Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Ed Davies)