Home sales to inch out of sleepy hollow

Wanganui's property market faces a slow but steady recovery, a local agent says.

QV's quarterly Property Report shows median sales prices in the district dropped 2.6 per cent to $190,000 in the three months to September 30, with 83 sales.

However, Ray White Realty Wanganui director Tim Hocquard noticed a lot more "genuine activity" lately. Buyers were making more genuine inquiries and offers instead of "opportunist offers".

"There's not a lot more sales, but they're better sales," he said. "When you're dealing with genuine sales - homeowners, compared to investors and other buyers who are out there for a bargain - they're up and they're steadily staying up."

Mr Hocquard expected a slow, steady rise in activity.

"It's not steep by any means, and there's a couple of little dips in there, but I think it's steadily getting better."

Monthly sales volumes had remained constant, and were improving, he said.

More farms had been coming on the market, which hadn't happened in "quite some time".

Nationally, sellers notched a record high average asking price in the past month, property database Realestate.co.nz revealed.

Ray White NZ chief executive Carey Smith said the property market was still split in two - Auckland and the rest. While Auckland prices had continued to surge, prices slipped in many provincial areas in the September quarter, the QV report showed. However, Mr Smith said the picture was rosy if Auckland was excluded.

"The numbers are still pretty strong ... looking at the Central North Island, compared to 2008, it's almost double."

While the lower North Island had been "pretty flat", it was clear there were a lot of "split markets", Mr Smith said.

Wanganui in isolation had been recovering in recent months, while Palmerston North remained flat.

"Kapiti Coast has been good, while Wellington's remained flat, so it's quite diversified.

The regions' mid-to-upper markets had been performing better, with more properties selling above the market average, Mr Smith said.

A recent surge in listings was due in part to people holding off from selling during winter.

He did not expect the new listings to force prices down but said homes would take longer to sell.

"Obviously buyers have more choice, so the pressure comes off."

Realestate.co.nz spokesman Paul McKenzie said after a strong October, with 6640 properties sold, new listings were still not keeping pace with buyer demand.

A shortage of stock, plus attractive mortgage packages, meant the market was in the seller's favour, Mr McKenzie said.

This was reflected in the average asking price which last month topped October's record high to reach $446,277. APNZ


Median sale price in three months to September 30

Wanganui district: $190,000. percentage change since last quarter: -2.6 per cent. Sales: 83

St Johns Hill: $272,500. Sales: 6

Wanganui: $178,500. Sales: 10

Castlecliff: $119,800. Sales: 13

Average Manawatu/Wanganui asking price for November: $277,796 - a 3.7 per cent month-on-month increase.

Source: QV.co.nz, Realestate.co.nz


- Wanganui Chronicle

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