March 6, 2018 / 4:01 PM / a year ago

New Zealand house prices rise 6.5 percent in Feb - govt report

WELLINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - New Zealand house prices rose in February as the central bank relaxed its lending curbs, encouraging buyers into the recovering market, the government property valuer said on Wednesday.

Quotable Value’s (QV) residential property price index rose 6.5 percent in the year to February, compared with an annual rate of 6.4 percent in the previous month.

“Low interest rates and the easing in the LVR (loan to value ratio) restrictions have seen many more first home buyers active in areas where they can still afford to enter the market, while some investors also appear to be becoming more active now they need a slightly lower deposit,” said QV’s national spokeswoman, Andrea Rush.

The central bank announced in November it would pare some of its macro-prudential mortgage lending curbs at the start of 2018.

House prices in the Auckland region were 0.8 percent higher in the three months to the end of February, compared with a 1.6 percent lift the month before.

Other regional centres posted more robust quarterly growth with values in the capital, Wellington, rising 3.1 percent and 1.7 percent in Dunedin. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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