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Winter is coming – and so are Wellington’s $2m suburbs

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The nights may be getting cooler now but the top end of Wellington city’s residential property market certainly isn’t.

In fact, many of the central city’s hottest suburbs have only been getting hotter, with the waterfront suburbs of Seatoun ($2,190,324) and Roseneath ($2,054,674) recently surpassing the $2-million average house mark, according to the latest figures from Quotable Value (QV).

The next most expensive suburbs of Kelburn ($1,541,041) and Mount Victoria ($1,463,245) remain some way off yet, but QV area manager Paul McCorry warned that at the city’s current rate of house price growth it mightn’t be too long before they cross the same threshold.

“Wellington is relatively unique in that the upper end of the housing market is actually out-performing the entry-level suburbs that are traditionally targeted by investors and first-home buyers. As a result, property owners in our most expensive suburbs have been making some serious capital gains over the past year,” he said.

The latest QV House Price Index data, which is due to be released next week, will give greater insight into how recent Government policy changes have affected the wider market – but Mr McCorry said early indicators suggested the top end of the market had been broadly unaffected so far.

“It seems people with good jobs are feeling confident now to make the most of their capital gains and low interest rates to upsell their homes. You’ve also got returning Kiwis with large nest eggs getting on the local ladder,” he said.

“Many people have also spent a considerable amount of time at home during lockdown and have developed a wishlist for their dream property. They’ve since either renovated to close the gap with their idea of a dream home, or they’ve sold and purchased something more akin to it.”

Meanwhile, previously affordable areas to the north of Wellington city – such as Tawa, Johnsonville and Churton Park – have also recently surpassed the $1 million average house price.

“For the last few years the story has been around which were Wellington’s million dollar suburbs – now the story seems to be which ones aren’t. It makes me wonder if there even is an entry level in the city now, given that the average dwelling value in the lower quartile is approaching $900,000.

“It’s not surprising that we’ve also been seeing record growth now in the Hutt Valley, Porirua and Kapiti Coast, where the average house prices are much lower and it’s still only a short train ride to the CBD.”

Join Paul McCorry and David Nagel for a Facebook Live Q&A and discussion about the latest trends in New Zealandd's housing market, 12:30pm on Tuesday 11 May.