HOUSING MARKET UPDATE
By Kirsten Magnusson
New research indicates that New Zealand’s real estate market is demonstrating considerable resilience to the Coronavirus pandemic, despite expert economists’ predictions of significant declines in prices and demand.
‘A nationwide survey of buyer inquiry since level three lockdown restrictions were lifted reveals very strong demand. Rather than a slump in prices, there is evidence of pre-COVID-19 prices holding firm or being exceeded’ says Joe Mullins, chairman of the First National Real Estate network.
Mullins’ comments come hard on the heels of news editorial earlier this week indicating high levels of inquiry and prices across the Auckland market.
‘There is evidence that the COVID-19 lockdown has had a broadly positive effect on confidence throughout New Zealand’s housing market. Without doubt, the security of homeownership was reaffirmed as families spent more time together. Many have re-evaluated what is important and the family home is seen as the cornerstone,’ says Mr Mullins.
This sentiment is broadly echoed throughout the regions, with First National members in Whangarei, Auckland, Taranaki, Otaki, Wellington, Marlborough and Gore each reporting a marked increase in lifestyle and regional property enquiries from city-based residents as well as changed priorities driving demand for upsizing and downsizing within the same area.
‘Throughout the country we are witnessing increased activity and vendor expectations are being met or well and truly exceeded. Record low-interest rates and the relaxing of LVR requirements by the Reserve Bank have greatly assisted’ says Mr Mullins.
‘As long as buyers have retained employment, they want to buy. The reality is that real estate agents don’t create the market. We are subject to the market forces that drive buyers, sellers and, ultimately, prices. So far at least, there appears to be no evidence of the anticipated slump predicted by some economists.’ said Mr Mullins.