• Managing director, Bayley Corporation
Stability is the word of the moment in Auckland's residential property market. Relative stability in prices, in demand, and in sales volumes. All three dynamics are neither spectacular nor 'bubble bursting'. They are stable.
It's a phase in the property cycle where experienced real estate sales people — who have seen this phase numerous times and know how to operate in its dynamics — add value to the negotiating process for vendors and purchasers.
While some vendors may feel reticent about looking to sell in a stable market after watching several years of double-digit growth in capital values, and some buyers may be wondering if or when a flood of listings is going to come to market, the market is what the market is. Stable.
We have seen the residential property investment sector thin out from domestic and international perspectives. At the entry to mid-price ranges for homes, some investor demand has been replaced by a higher percentage of first home buyers now the heat has gone out of the market, and they have had a year or two to save deposits.
Many first home buyers, and the real estate agency sector, will be watching the roll-out of the Government's KiwiBuild Buying off the Plans initiative announced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
Indicative Auckland price caps of $500,000 for a one-bedroom dwelling, $600,000 for two bedrooms, and $650,000 for three bedrooms will appeal to first time buyers.
With a stable Government, and a stable economy, the outlook we see for the middle portion of the year for the residential property market in Auckland is ... stable.
• CEO, Harcourts
The average house price in Auckland in April has seen an increase of 4.04 per cent from $1,024,317 to $1,065,739 when reported against figures for the same period last year.
Sales were down 16.51 per cent on April 2017, while new listings were up by an impressive 28.52 per cent compared to last year. Total property on hand in Auckland is also up by 1.44 per cent on April 2017.
The fact that the average price and listings are both up despite sales being down indicates there are still buyers prepared to spend money on the right property.
The increase in price and listings this month represents a picture of the Auckland market holding firm with a core of serious buyers and sellers, who are not being deterred by the noise around the city's housing climate.
In 2017 we were coming out of four years of intense growth. In 2018, we're seeing stability, but still plenty of good activity that is returning excellent results for vendors.
To make the most of the market conditions I'd advise sellers work closely with their sales consultant to create the best possible marketing campaign to connect them with the right buyers, for the best result. When the market is quieter a good sales consultant will prove his or her worth.
A lot of people think listing in winter isn't a great idea, but life doesn't stop for winter. People still need to move, whether it be for new jobs, for family reasons or just those itchy feet.
As your sales consultant will tell you, focus on the market and your ability to present your home to potential sellers, no matter where the mercury is sitting in the temperature gauge.
• CEO, Ray White NZ
The residential market is showing signs of consistency, resulted in strong listings and sales during the past two months. We expect this to continue through this year's second quarter.
While the increased activity has meant property supply has increased; the number of buyers attending open homes has also increased and this is giving the market a degree of normality consistent with 12 months ago.
The new Government is settled and hasn't made the dramatic legislative changes around property that were expected.
At this point, it is still unclear how overseas investment legislation will be presented. Other areas, including capital gains and potential property taxes, are yet to surface on the Government's agenda.
The new Reserve Bank Governor held interest rates at the current low levels. While LVR requirements are still in place, the ability to lend against land value ratios are less stringent for purchasers.
In the main centres, Auckland continues to show strong signs for property owners. This is matched by good stock levels. Wellington is tighter, with days on market being fewer than other centres. Canterbury is balanced.
Generally, the overall stock portfolio in New Zealand continues to increase and this will provide buyers with a greater level of choice.
In the area of rental property, several legislative changes are coming into place.
While we believe this may change the rental yield, it will also make property more attractive to tenants and this makes renting overall more attractive.
• Managing director, Barfoot & Thompson
A quiet confidence returned to the Auckland property market in autumn, laying the groundwork that is likely to see prices and sales numbers hold up through the winter months.
Our sales, and those for the whole market as reported by the Real Estate Institute, show that when compared to their 2017 equivalents, sales numbers picked up measurably while prices started to edge up.
It is not a signal that Auckland activity is about to take off — rather that vendors and buyers are comfortable with where prices are at, and that apprehension about future direction is not holding back sales.
It would not be surprising if activity eased from March and April's highs during June and July, before returning in August/September as we head into spring and early summer.
The Auckland market solved its nine-year run of increasing prices by going into hibernation in March last year.
Now, after 12 months of limited activity, it is showing signs that it's ready to resume business.
The fundamentals that led to price rises in the first place remain. These include a growing population, house building not keeping pace with population growth, stable and low mortgage interest rates, banks with mortgage money to lend and a healthy economy.
Current prices and regulatory controls are likely to have a hand-brake effect on prices, but there is scope for sales activity to continue to rise as a greater number of people reach the point of deciding to move forward on their housing intentions.
• General manager, LJ Hooker & Harveys Group
Many Aucklanders are restless and frustrated with the city's congestion — and the new petrol tax will make the regions even more attractive.
Low inflation and no signs of any interest rate hikes are a blessing for many Auckland families and first home buyers who, at the early stages of their mortgage term, have all their eggs in one basket.
Buyers and sellers can have confidence that the market is unlikely to experience a major price reduction or increase.
Wise vendors are meeting the market, often realising it won't get any better — and taking the money, not the risk.
Rental properties will continue to be in huge demand with vacancy rates low. This may see rents on the rise which is a positive sign for investors.
And with the brightline property rule that started this year on March 29, people who sell a house in New Zealand within five years of buying it must pay income tax on any gains unless it's their main home or another exception applies — for instance the property was inherited.
If they bought a house between October 1, 2015 and March 28, 2018, the two-year brightline rule still applies.
Also, loan to value ratio will become a permanent tool but it will be calibrated.
If you are thinking of buying or contemplating selling, there is no time like the present.
Properties being marketed without a price but with a set date — auction, tender or set sale — are selling, with vendors pleasantly surprised with the result.
Buyers today have access to data, and comparable properties.
Open honest communication is paramount from all parties to effect a sale.
Barry Thom and Grant Lynch
• Unlimited Potential, Real Estate
The last two months have been steady as she goes but a notable change has seen an increase in the number of first home buyers.
With the OCR confirmed as unchanged, rates at the 4-point-something range for the next two to three years will be encouraging for buyers generally.
We also note that many landlords/investors are selling their rentals. This is a bonus for first home buyers. The removal of negative gearing, plus the brightline test going to five years, is having a flow-on effect of potentially increasing the number of homes for sale, but at the same time decreasing the number of homes for rent.
Fewer people are attending open homes, but the percentage of those genuinely looking to purchase is high.
Overall, the balance between supply and demand is favouring the buyer. In specific cases, there is strong competition and premiums are being achieved.
One point of contention is the relevance of certain CVs (council valuations). Historically, market values likely were in excess of this figure. But lately, some properties have sold for less than the CV, causing many home owners anguish.
The fact is, the CV is the result of a mathematical algorithm. It is an arbitrary figure. In short, no one made a physical inspection as part of the CV assessment. Broadly speaking, those properties with a high land area are most likely to have a CV higher than the market value.
The legislative, tax, and banking (LVR) changes made in recent times have changed the dynamics of the market place. Put these factors alongside the introduction of the new CVs and you have a recipe for increased due diligence as buyer and seller find a meeting of the minds.