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10-06-2011

Agents spy slight rise in property investor interest in June

Landlords.co.nz

There was a slight increase in the number of investors looking to buy property in June, nationwide sales prices remain flat and sellers are generally more motivated than buyers, according to the BNZ-REINZ Market Survey.

The third survey of New Zealand's licensed real estate agents received 664 responses and found a net 4% reported seeing more investors in the market. However, the report cautions that this is only a small increase and broadly the same as May's 2%, "suggesting that there is essentially no change underway in investor interest in the market."

"This stands in contrast to some of the anecdotes we have been receiving regarding more investors looking to purchase to take advantage of diminishing housing ability delivering increased ability to raise rents."

The report also says any increase in new investors in the market is likely to be offset to some extent by others looking to exit in the wake of this year's tax changes.

Nationwide, the survey found price rises are still not occurring on average, though in most parts of Auckland there is upward pressure on prices and more motivated buyers than sellers.

Wellington lags in most readings and Christchurch respondents report seeing more people seeking property appraisals, "undoubtedly interested in gauging how their property value may have shifted following the February 22 earthquake."

More first home buyers are also appearing, and the numbers through open homes are also improving.

On house prices the survey found no sign agents are seeing house prices rise.

"In fact, for the third month in a row more agents report that they felt prices are falling than report they feel they are rising."

In June a net 5% reported seeing falls from a month ago compared to a net 7% in May and 4% in April.

"The housing market recovery we believe is underway is not yet manifesting itself via rising prices on average," the report said.

The survey also found more and more first time buyers entering the market, with a net 19% of agents reporting they have seen an increase over the past month. The report says the same results were found in May, suggesting a strengthening labour market may be impacting positively on people's willingness to commit to purchasing a home.

On the issue of whether sellers or buyers were more motivated, for the third consecutive month agents report that sellers are more motivated than buyers.

The main reasons agents cite for buyer reluctance are a feeling prices will fall further (30.3%), concerns about securing finance (15.9%), concerns about selling an existing property (20.4%) and the poor quality of listings (22.4%).

The increased number of survey respondents has allowed BNZ-REINZ to closer examine agents experience is some major cities.

In Auckland, the survey found Auckland City and North Shore City presented the strongest evidence for rising property prices, "with buyers far more eager to transact than sellers."

Readings for Waitakere City and Rodney District were less strong than Auckland City and the North Shore, but still above the nationwide average.

Manukau City however had weaker readings than other parts of the wider Auckland area.

Auckland's fortunes were in stark contrast to the capital, where "all indicators are worse than the country average except for the presence of first home buyers."

Hamilton was found to have above average interest from investors and first home buyers, and sellers were more motivated to sell than buyers were to buy.

In summary, the report says there has been little average price pressure outside of Auckland, where there is a clear dominance of buyers.

However, "history suggests this strength will eventually be seen in other parts of the country through buyer interest moving out of Auckland, and strengthening regional economic growth once farmers feel comfortable with debt levels and boost their consumption and investment spending."

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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