First home buyers showing interest again

New Zealand house prices remained essentially flat in the month of May, with government valuer Quotable Value Ltd. reporting signs of first home buyer interest picking up as interest rates remain low and banks relax lending criteria.

To the extent there were regional trends, housing values gained in Auckland but remained stable or declined in the rest of the country, according to QV's sales figures for May.

National property values are now 1.6 per cent lower than the same time last year, and 5.7 per cent below the market peak of late 2007, the data shows. That follows from April's figures, where values in the month were 1.9 per cent lower than the same month a year ago, and 5.8 per cent off the market peak.

While unrelated to the QV index and a less reliable measure of value change, the average New Zealand sales price over the last three months was $404,057, down slightly from $405,310 reported last month.