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Property listings low but sales on upswing

The region’s property sellers are sitting tight, with new data showing new Wairarapa property listings have dropped 41 per cent since last year.

This coincides with Real Estate New Zealand’s [RENZ] reporting which said figures for new nationwide listings in May dipped to a 16-year low, with similar figures not seen since the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.

According to RENZ, the national average asking price in comparison to this time last year has fallen by close to $100,000, from $958,586 to $866,969.

A drop echoed in Wairarapa which fell from an average asking price of $825,625 in May last year, to an average of $727,615 recorded last month.

Masterton Ray White Leaders real estate agent Mark Childs said these low listings are due to a combination of the standard winter slowdown and the past 18 month’s drop in house prices.

With the drop in the average house sale price, many vendors won’t sell if they aren’t happy with the price, Childs noted.

“Sellers might have been looking at a certain amount 18 months ago. Now they’re looking at 15 per cent less than what they were going to get.”

The lack of buying opportunities on the market also means those looking to sell and rebuy are in a tricky spot.

“If they’re not really motivated to make a move, then they’re probably just sitting on their hands and waiting it out,” Childs said.

“It’s all around that theme of motivation, the time of year, and lack of choice they can move on to.”

Childs expects spring will bring more choices to the market.

Despite the slowdown in new listings, Childs said there is still strong competition in the buyer’s market, with his agency processing a number of multi-offers received in the last month.

“That’s a sure sign that buyers – people who have been waiting – are deciding to act,” said Childs.

“The increase in multiple offers and the shortage of supply for the buyer has created some renewed competition for property in our market.”

According to the Real Estate Institute of NZ [REINZ], in May there were 22 house sales in Masterton, while Carterton had 19 sales, and South Wairarapa had a total of 15.

Despite Wairarapa’s overall drop in property listings, Childs said Carterton’s sales for May were notably high.

The shortage of new listings had been discussed in a sales meeting on Tuesday morning, Childs said.

“We’re actually selling more per week recently than we are actually bringing on to the market.

“If we look at daily and weekly listings that are coming on, it’s pretty lean pickings at the moment.”

Another possible factor is a drop in purchases that are subject to house sales, noted Harcourts Masterton managing director and auctioneer Prue Hamill.

A month ago, Hamill said, around 80 per cent of offers would have been subject to house sale, but in the past month that figure had decreased significantly.

“When you’re subject to a house sale and you’re still in a falling market, people may consider their houses worth more than what we were able to achieve.”

Hamill said feelings of instability and high-interest rates also play a part.

“It’s something that comes around, especially with an election year,” said Hamill.

Like Childs, Hamill said she is also observing a healthy buyer’s market despite the data showing fewer people listing their houses.

“It’s pleasing to say that we have more buyers in the market,” said Hamill.

“We’re starting to see the offers coming in and more movement in there.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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