property value growth continued to slow in February, with a cooling Auckland housing market offsetting gains in other main centres.

The average value of a New Zealand home rose 11.6 per cent to $556,306 in February from a year earlier, slowing from a 12.6 per cent annual increase in January, according to state-owned valuer Quotable Value. Values were up 0.1 per cent in the three months through February, slowing from a 0.7 per cent pace in the three months ended Jan. 31.

Home values in main centres other than Auckland grew, and regions within commuting distance to Auckland are still benefiting from buyers looking for more affordable housing, QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said.

Values in Kaipara, Waikato and Hauraki were up more than 5 per cent over the past three months.

Auckland property values rose at an annual pace of 17.8 per cent, down from a 19.8 per cent increase in January, and have dropped 0.7 per cent over the last three months, Rush said. The average price of a house in the Auckland region is now $925,656, down from January’s $928,921.

QV Auckland valuer James Wilson said that while activity levels remain low compared to the first nine months of 2015, investors who became cautious following the Reserve Bank’s restrictions last year now appear willing to re-enter the market.

Values in Hamilton rose 22 per cent in the year to February, a 2 percentage point increase on January, while Tauranga values were up 22.3 per cent year on year, pushing average value in the city to $565,547.

Wellington region values rose 6.1 per cent in the year, accelerating from a 5.9 per cent annual pace in January.

QV’s Wellington valuer Kerry Buckeridge said there was a noticeable lack of listings and rising prices in Wellington’s home sales market, and a shortage of rental properties in the area.

Christchurch values were up an annual 2.5 per cent, and Dunedin values increased 6.5 per cent year on year.