Real estate market up but varies by region

Tony Alexander
Tony Alexander
There is a continued strong interest in the New Zealand real estate market, including from investors and first-home buyers.

But not all regions are equal, a BNZ residential market survey finds.

A record net 20% of the 485 real estate agents who responded to the survey felt it was a sellers' market, a net 42% were seeing more first-home buyers and a net 21% were seeing more investors.

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said the results were consistent with many other indicators, which had caught up with the upturn in activity he picked up at the start of the year.

"But it should be noted that, as with many things, conditions are not the same in all regions."

Auckland was leading the residential property upturn. Northland sat at the other end of the spectrum. Many potential vendors' prices were perceived to be falling and there was little clear new interest from first-home buyers or investors.

"History tells us that an Auckland rise does tend to eventually reach the rest of the country, and that will be a development we shall be gauging over the remainder of this year and into 2013," Mr Alexander said.

Otago barely crept into the survey, as the BNZ aimed for at least 20 responses per region.

The results showed that in Northland, Bay of Plenty and Manawatu-Wanganui, buyers' markets remained. Apart from Otago and Wellington, where neither side dominated, buyers were far more motivated than sellers.

Only in Northland did agents perceive prices were still falling.

Everywhere else they were seen as rising and especially so in Auckland, followed by Canterbury and Otago.

Weak buying in Northland was evident in 36% of agents saying they were seeing more requests for property appraisals. In Otago, such requests were rare.

Mr Alexander said the results showed the residential real estate market was quite active and characterised by a shortage of supply.

"Not all other regions are in the weak state clearly displayed by Northland and it will be interesting over the remainder of the year to see how quickly Auckland's strength spreads."


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