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House market stabilizing

Local real estate agents believe the market is showing signs of stability, a forecast which will come as a relief to those looking to buy.

Real Estate New Zealand’s annual property report for 2023 showed that while Wairarapa’s new listings fell by 12.5 per cent, average asking prices had a small increase of 2.6 per cent.

Despite the drop in new listings, Tremains regional manager for Wairarapa Rob Slater said last year was a good year.

“We saw a lot of activity in the lower-value homes in Masterton,” Slater said.

“The market is quite stable at the moment, so I think first-home buyers should be looking at purchasing now.”

Looking forward, Slater said he felt that “this year will be steady with no major jumps”.

Harcourts Wairarapa managing director and auctioneer Prue Hamill also felt stability was coming.

“House prices should remain stable with a slight increase due to inflation,” Hamill said.

“Signs have come through that markets are starting to stabilise.”

Hamill noted that she was still observing people making the shift over the hill.

“I find many people are coming from Wellington,” Hamill said.

“People want to move away from those heavily populated areas to areas with a smaller population but relatively close access.”

Hamill said the stabilizing market was the perfect time for first-home buyers.

The Times-Age looked at data from local townships – Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston, Martinborough and Eketāhuna – to see how median sale and asking prices stacked up over the past 12 months, using data from Real Estate New Zealand.

Martinborough saw the highest median sale price of $865,000 while Eketāhuna was the lowest – almost half of Martinborough – at $460,000.

Although sale prices of all six locations sat within that range, all locations saw a decrease from the same period the year prior [2022].

All locations saw higher median asking prices than sale prices, with Greytown’s median asking price of $1,000,000 the only location to break seven figures.

Hamill believed that the median asking prices don’t always represent the whole market, and said that’s because properties are often listed without asking prices.

“It’s quite interesting as a lot of property is selling before an asking price is listed,” Hamill said.

“I think you would see most places go to market with no asking price.

“It is usually after three to four weeks that a listing will include the asking price.”

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