From long experience, Ray White Hawke's Bay executive real estate agent Jean McIver says you cannot predict what is going to happen in the property market.

Or indeed in life, as she found when she started work from her new home in Ōtāne only to find herself locked up by Covid-19 just a month later.

Jean, raised in Hawke's Bay on Mohaka Station, had been living and working in Doubtless Bay until the end of last year.

She decided to move back to Hawke's Bay to be closer to family and arrived in her new home in Ōtāne just before Christmas.

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She says she found it ironic to move back to spend more time with family, and promptly be locked down under level 4 and unable to see anyone at all.

Jean has been working for Ray White, Australasia's largest real estate company, for 16 years and says she has stayed with the company, which is still owned by the White family, because of its good ethics.

"It's also a very caring company, an old company that's very forward-looking."

Jean has worked from home throughout her career but says it was unusual to do so when she started.

"People used to call into the office to see what was on the market, or to list their property. Now that everything is online, people take a look - and they can look right through a house - decide what they like and ask to look at particular properties.

"They already know what they want to see ... we make an appointment and I show them around.

"I also go and meet people who want to market their properties and I can view and appraise them. Working from home is now easy."

It's the "people" aspect that hasn't changed and that's the part of the business Jean likes the best.

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"To succeed in real estate you have to really like people and have a good rapport with them, especially vendors. I try to look after my vendors exceptionally well."

Jean started in rural real estate and has also worked with a lot of developers on subdivisions.

"I have a lot of in-depth knowledge of how to go about subdivisions, dealing with councils, resource consents, and surveyors.

"I'm ultra-thorough, always checking council files and sites, knowing where water and wastewater is, knowing all I can about the property. I'm probably overly particular but I see that as my job, to protect vendors and inform purchasers - they need to know what they're buying."

Jean says the CHB property market is "buzzing" with people moving here from Hastings, Napier and Havelock North to take advantage of the opportunity to get more for their money.

"They can get a larger or newer property and it's not far to commute. In Auckland you could drive for just as long simply to get on to a motorway. Here we have flat roads and overtaking lanes, it's a dream to drive around."

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Jean says there is a lot of chat from economists happening about the market.

"But we've never been in this position before so we can't predict what will happen. I've worked through the global financial crisis and the stockmarket crash, but they were financially driven recessions.

"Now, anything is a guess. Here, I'd expect the drought would have more of an effect than Covid-19."

Recently a fellow Ray White agent in CHB, Kaye Harrison, listed a property on a Thursday and had eight offers by Sunday. Another was listed on Thursday and under contract by Sunday.

"There's huge interest out there," Jean says.