Property values in Auckland are above the market peak of late 2007 and are leading national values on a gradual rise, according to the latest QV residential property index.
"Nationwide property values have been gradually increasing for the past six months and are now 0.7% above the same time last year and 4.6% below the market peak of 2007," said QV research director JonnoIngerson.
He said much of the nationwide increase over the past few months is attributable to Auckland and to a lesser extent, Christchurch, with values across the rest of the country varied.
"Values in the Auckland area have increased 3.7% since January, and are now 3.4% above the same time last year. As a result of these recent increases, values are now 0.6% above the previous market peak of late 2007," said Ingerson.
"The old Auckland City continues to have the fastest increasing values within the Super City having increased 5.4% since January, and 4.6% over the past year. Values are now 2.6% higher than the 2007 market peak. North Shore has increased 3% over the past year, Waitakere 2.3% and Manukau 1.9%."
Ingerson said there were also signs of the market picking up in other areas, with Hamilton values edging up slightly over September after several flat months to just 1.2% below last year.
Tauranga values have been rising gradually for several months and are now 0.1% below last year, though both Hamilton and Tauranga remain almost 12% below the market peak.
Values continue to be volatile in Dunedin, though rises in the last month have taken values to only 2% below last year.
"In contrast to Hamilton and Tauranga a strong recovery in values in Dunedin during 2009 means that current values are only 7.1% below the peak despite falling gradually for most of this year," said Ingerson.
Values in Wellington have been declining since January, though some levelling off over the past couple of months has left them 1.1% below the same time last year and 7.6% below the 2007 market peak.
Ingerson said Christchurch has seen values steadily increase, particularly in the northern and western suburbs.
"As a result of values increasing since January, they are now 2.1% above the same time last year. The areas surrounding Christchurch have also continued to increase in value for several months and as a result Selwyn is 5.3% above the same time last year, and Waimakariri 2.8% up."
QV reported considerable variability across provincial centres.
Whangarei, Rotorua, Gisborne and Invercargill have all seen values rise over the past three months, but remain down on last year by (respectively) -3.7%, -1.9%, -1% and -2.8%.
Locations that have seen values fall further below last year after decreases in the last three months include Hastings (-2.1%), Napier (-1.2%), New Plymouth (-3.5%) and Wanganui (-7.8%).
Palmerston North, Nelson and Queenstown Lakes have all increased in value slightly over the past three months and are above last year by (respectively) 0.1%, 1.3% and 0.8%.
"Despite a slight seasonal increase in listings in many areas, there has been little increase in sales activity over the past few months," Ingerson said.
"Many buyers and sellers remain cautious, and the developing European economic crisis has begun to affect business and consumer confidence."