The property market seems to be out of the "danger zone", as long as New Zealand can keep a second wave of Covid-19 at bay.

That's the analysis from economist Tony Alexander, while taking part in the OneRoof Property Panel.

When the lockdown was announced at the end of March, some were predicting property price falls of between 10-15 per cent.

But the economy's unexpectedly fast recovery is showing in the latest OneRoof Property Report, which shows property prices so far have flattened to a 0.5 per cent increase nationally since lockdown.


In the panel discussion, Alexander said as long as we avoided a second lockdown we were now through the main danger zones of the March and June quarters.

"I've been inviting people to remember that New Zealand is a primary-sector-based economy, and the demand for our primary sector products ... is good, it's holding up well."

He said that while tourism and education had been hit hard by the border closures, other areas were already surging back, which would support stability in the housing market.

"I'm still definitely of an optimistic bent on this.

"It would have to be, I think, an outbreak in New Zealand and a new lockdown to greatly disturb me from that optimistic scenario."

Valocity Global CEO Carmen Vicelich said it had come as a surprise to see the property prices flatten rather than fall off a cliff, even though sales volumes had slowed.

"Interestingly, the top of the market is very much 'wait and see', so some of the areas like Remuera and Parnell are pretty flat. No one's really selling, we're not seeing home movers.

"Conversely, the bottom end of the market, so first-home buyers and investors are very active, have been the most active in the market, which can drag down the median sales price because the properties that are selling are low value."


Barfoot and Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said their July sales figures were impressive, only one sale behind their March figures, when the market had been running hot pre-lockdown.

He said lockdown had provided the opportunity for a change in lifestyle for some people, with some working from home more, or simply realising they wanted to change how they lived.

That had resulted in an increase in enquiries for rural properties.

"I think it's given people a different perspective on what they could be doing. So we start seeing people moving into the Coatesville, the Albanies, or north or south of Auckland.

"They can buy a little bit of extra land area, have a few animals on it, and have a more comfortable lifestyle."

Mortgage Lab CEO Rupert Gough said, for anyone who was worried about property and their finances, now was a good time to improve their security.


While people had previously taken stable jobs for granted, he said the pandemic had shown that everyone needed to be prepared.

"If you own a house it's about building up that cash buffer, through the use of revolving credit or offset accounts, so that you've got enough to last if we get a Victoria or Australian scenario.

"In the old days they used to tell you to have enough cash to last for three months. I suspect it's more three months plus a lockdown, these days.

"If you can get to that point, then the next worst thing that comes along isn't going to have as much of an effect on you."

For the full discussion, watch the video of the OneRoof Property Panel.