Forced house sales still dropping

Chris Dagg
Chris Dagg
Mortgagee sales figures may have dropped since the harshest days of the recession, but 89 Otago properties still had to be sold in the 12 months to September 2011.

Terralink International figures show 39 of those were in Queenstown Lakes, 20 were in Dunedin, 11 in Central Otago, 13 in Clutha, and 6 were in Waitaki.

In the same period, Auckland had 738 mortgagee sales, Waikato 295 and Canterbury 139.

Southland and the West Coast both had only 28.

The latest figures showed an improvement on previous years, as 118 houses were sold in mortgagee sales in Otago in the 2010 calendar year - 60 of which were in Queenstown Lakes - and 153 had had to be sold in the region in 2009, including 90 mortgagee salesin Queenstown Lakes.

In 2009, mortgagee sales in the region totalled more than the previous three years combined - 66 mortgages were foreclosed in 2008, 26 in 2007 and 11 in 2006.

Massey University Centre for Banking Studies director associate professor Dr David Tripe said the peaks in 2009 and 2010 were no surprise.

"In general terms, when economic circumstances are more difficult, there will be more instances of mortgagee sales," he said.

Reasons for people going through mortgagee sales varied greatly: sometimes it was the fault of the lender, other times the property owner, and sometimes it was due to circumstances outside either party's control.

"Generally, each situation is slightly different, but the most common reason for problems is people thinking they can afford bigger mortgages and taking out bigger loans then they can actually afford. Sometimes they are encouraged in that process by lenders."

The lower rates of mortgagee sales in Otago could be related to slower population growth and the lack of "wild mania" property price increases experienced elsewhere, except in Central Otago, Dr Tripe said.

However, he did not believe last year's mortgagee sales drop was necessarily an indicator of brighter economic times.

"The apparent reduction may simply mean people are getting on and selling their property themselves," he said.

There was "a lot of excitement" about property price rises in Auckland, but for most of the rest of the country, "people who think there will be property price rises are probably kidding themselves".



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