It’s springtime and the traditional surge in the number of homeowners looking to put their homes on the market is upon us if the increase in appraisal requests noted by First National offices across the country is anything to go by.
According to First National’s monthly residential property survey, the level of appraisal requests increased for 60% of First National offices in September compared with August and was higher for 55% of respondents compared with a year earlier.
First National Group chairman Jill Quaid says, "We always expect appraisal requests to rise in springtime and the significant increase shown this year is an indication that people are more confident in the economic outlook.
“As soon as the first springtime flowers appear, it’s traditional for the real estate market to perk up,” she says. “Vendors are preparing for when more buyers enter the market.”
First National offices in the upper South Island, New Plymouth, Glendene, Howick, Papatoetoe, Tauranga, Cromwell, Churton Park, Otaki, Mangonui, almost all Canterbury branches and almost all offices in the central North Island say appraisal levels rose from August 2011 and September 2010.
“The Canterbury response is indicative of the very slow market in September 2010 after Christchurch was hit by its first large earthquake at the beginning of that month,” Quaid says.
Plus September of 2010 had floods, snow and blustery weather in various parts of the country affecting the real estate market.
Despite the overall positive increase in appraisal activity in September, property owners in some parts of New Zealand are still holding back from the current market.
The survey shows 15% of First National branches experienced a lower number of appraisal requests in September compared with August and 24% report there were fewer requests than a year ago.
Also, 25.5% of respondents note that appraisal requests in September are the same as August and 21% report they are on a par with September 2010.
Sometimes, a real estate appraisal does not eventuate in a listing. A majority of First National offices, 73%, report that people who do not list their home as a result of an appraisal are holding back for a better time to sell, rather than listing with another agent or being dissatisfied with the valuation price.
The survey, which measures listing levels, sales, market trends and overall activity across First National’s nationwide network, found house prices fell in September compared with a year earlier across 44% of the country, which is consistent with August’s 43% annual change figure.
The survey found 41% of the sales force say house prices are the same compared with a year earlier, while 15% replied prices are higher.
Canterbury branches say prices are higher for nearly all properties compared with September 2010, while Nelson and Glendene buck the trend in their region by reporting rises too.
Prices are lower across the board for Albany, Waihi Beach, Te Puke, Whangamata, Te Kuiti, Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Cromwell, Churton Park, Greytown, Dargaville, Whangarei, Mangonui, Blenheim, Golden Bay, Stratford, and New Plymouth.
In the September survey, 51% of nationwide First National branches say two-bedroom property prices are lower than September 2010, while 43% say three-bedroom home prices have fallen. The majority of replies for four-bedroom homes, 45%, indicate prices are the same.
In terms of enquiry levels, 40% of First National’s sales force say open home attendance levels are higher than September 2010, while 26% report attendance has dropped. For website enquiries, 49% of offices note they are lower, while 38% report that walk-in and phone enquiries are similar to a year earlier.
First National branches indicating enquiry levels are up across all avenues are Howick, Tauranga, over half of Canterbury offices, Te Kuiti, Mangonui, Blenheim and Golden Bay.
In September, national listings were down 1.6% from August and had fallen 5.6% from September 2010.
A majority of respondents, 38%, have noted little investor activity in the rental property market in September, while 28% say investor activity is improving.
The majority of offices in the Bay of Plenty and the lower North Island say there is little to no investor activity in the area, while over half of the branches in Northland and 50% of Central region offices report there is some investor activity and improving.
Te Kuiti, Alexandra and Gore note investor activity has improved.
Looking ahead, Quaid believes the high agricultural returns being achieved by farmers will buoy the rural economy and real estate market in provincial centres, First National’s traditional strength.October 4, 2011