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Slim pickings as house stocks drop


7.3 per cent drop year-on-year
Older buyers in market

Wairarapa homeowners have been reluctant to sell this winter, pushing with available housing stock to record lows.

The region was one of seven nationwide with greatly reduced numbers of houses on sale.

The figures were the lowest since realestate.co.nz records began in 2007.

Average house prices in the region dropped by 0.3 per cent to $483,698, against an upward national trend of 1.2 per cent.

Only 68 properties came on to the market, down more than 37 per cent on August 2018.

The figure of 189 houses on the market was a drop of 7.3 per cent on the previous August.

“Wairarapa vendors are sitting on their hands at the moment,” realestate.co.nz spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said.

Legislation such as the Overseas Investment Act may have had an influence.

“Nationally, we haven’t seen total stock levels this low since July 2016. Of the 19 regions across New Zealand, only seven had increases in total stock levels, while 12 recorded falls compared with August 2018.”

August was typically a quiet winter month for the real estate market, she said.

There had been large numbers of potential buyers actively looking at homes after the fall in interest rates, but the selection of properties was limited.

Taylor said the banks lowering home loan interest rates after the Reserve Bank’s cutting of the Official Cash Rate earlier in the month was a surprise.

“The feedback we’re getting from the real estate industry is that home hunters are doing their homework, looking at what they could now buy in the lower interest rate environment.

“There have also been reports of a lift in the number of people attending auctions and open homes, researching the type of property they could get for their money.

“When it comes to buying a home, affordability has always been the primary consideration for most people. The interest rate drop will be a game changer when it comes to the range of choice.

“We will be watching to see how this could translate to increased listing activity, particularly in spring which has traditionally been when sellers go to market as the weather improves.”

The website’s traffic numbers confirmed interest in Wairarapa homes was keenest from buyers in Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland in the 55 to 64 age group.

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