By Christine Nikiel
Friday 24th January 2003
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The survey shows an increasing number of people believe house prices will rise while more people doubt that now is a good time to buy.
Almost 60% of respondents thought house prices would increase, compared with 45% in the September quarter, while 17% thought it was a good time to buy a house, compared with 24% in the September quarter.
Almost 30% of respondents believed interest rates would increase, compared with 58% in the previous quarter.
ASB chief economist Anthony Byett said the strong demand showed supply was still tight.
The "cautious optimism" was a healthy sign for the housing market and showed the upswing in housing was not likely to become excessive and end with a sudden downturn, he said.
"The cautiousness seems to reflect a perception that the balance of power continues to swing in favour of the vendor and also a wider concern about the economy and high levels of household debt," Mr Byett said.
The survey shows Auckland is the best place for house vendors, with 64% of respondents saying they believed house prices in the city would increase.
Auckland's rising average house prices reflect a high number of sales over $500,000, according to Barfoot & Thompson. B&T figures show the average residential house price increased by almost $46,000 last year.
The average price for an Auckland house started at $312,453 in January and ended the year at $358,226.
The average Auckland house price last year was $335,029 compared with $311,165 in 2001.
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