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Buyers Give March Property Market A Shot In The Arm

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Buyers Give March Property Market A Shot In The Arm

March was characterized by more investors, more multi-offers and more property sales, according to the First National Group's monthly residential real estate agent survey.

The shot in the arm came from a variety of quarters, First National Group general manager John Stewart says.

"The stars are aligning and numbers adding up for investors in areas where rental demands are high - particularly Auckland and dairy industry service areas, but also right across the South Island where quake-affected refugees are adding to local pressure.

"Private buyers, including first home buyers are taking advantage of the lowered interest rates right across the country in noticeable numbers.

"It's not the start of a boom but its one of the most encouraging months in a while," Stewart said.

The First National Group's internal survey measures sales volumes, trends, enquiry levels and activity indicators each month across its 450 salespeople in the 65-office network.

Both vendors and buyers were more realistic in March, resulting in pricing adjustments and more multi-offer situations.

However listings across the country were down 10% on the same time last year as owners not willing to sell at current market values declined to list.

Sales in March were up 25% on February although on par with March last year.

However buyer motivation was considerably higher, with well-priced properties in the right locations being fought over, Stewart said.

Building seemed to be maintaining its nationwide hiatus as section buyers were turned off by compliance issues as well as price.

However a sustained increase in section sales and holiday properties was noted in Mangawhai, Marsden Cove, Whangamata and Nelson Bays.

"Spring and Autumn are the best times of year to sell residential property and this year did not disappoint. Indications are that after three years of holding back, there is a growing group of buyers wanting to act.
 Further, enquiry indicators suggest that at worst we will see a long Autumn of sales and hopefully a plateau through winter.

Regional highlights from the survey:

Northland - Prices continue to be lower than the same time last year, market slow, few investors and listings up 20% on the same time last year. However, commercial real estate is showing strong returns and activity is up.

Auckland - Investor activity strongest here, likely due to rental shortages and lower cost of borrowing. Little interest in sections/building due to high compliance costs. Increasing multi-offer marketing - 38% now recommending it as best sales method with the remaining 62% recommending individual negotiation.

Waikato - Prices all down on same time last year and investor enquiry up. Multi offers reappearing.

Bay of Plenty - Fewer investor purchases compared with owner occupiers, some interest in sections but low level. Multi-offer marketing not recommended.

Western North Island - 66% recommend multi-offers over individual negotiation as best method of sales as lower prices are causing buyer competition. Strong overall demand for properties here but possibly rural related as investor interest low. Nil interest in sections or building.

Lower North Island: Prices all lower than same time last year but interest patchy. Section sales and investor activity at low levels.

Upper South Island: Prices steady, no multi offers and section sales on the up. Investor enquiry strong but follow-through limited.

Canterbury: Very limited activity and listings tight. Commercial property doing well as earthquake affected building owners scramble for premises.

Central Otago/Southland: Activity better here than for several months. Auction marketing bringing out noticeable increase in cash buyers.

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