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New Zealand house price growth quickens in February
[WELLINGTON] Growth in New Zealand's house prices picked up for a second consecutive month in February, driven by a lift in the country's biggest city, the government property valuer said on Tuesday.
Quotable Value's (QV) residential property price index rose 6.4 per cent in the year to Feb 28, compared with an annual rate of 5.7 per cent in January.
It was the index's first back-to-back monthly gain in the rate of growth in more than a year, and it was 20.3 per cent above the market's previous peak in late 2007.
"The seemingly insatiable demand for Auckland property has resulted in the upward trend steepening ," said QV spokeswoman Andrea Rush in a statement.
House prices in the Auckland region were 13 per cent higher in the year to February compared with a 11.6 per cent rise the month before, while prices in earthquake-damaged Christchurch were steady with an annual rate of 3.4 per Fcent.
The government agency said there was strengthening demand for new housing developments, which are exempt from the restrictions on low deposit lending aimed at keeping a lid on housing inflation and containing the risks to banks.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has said it expects to keep its benchmark rate on hold for some time but has expressed its concerns about the housing market, especially in Auckland, heating up again.