With winter in full swing and the election just two months’ away, we’ve seen a slight move in the property market. While median prices in Auckland increased slightly year-on-year, it’s now the turn of the rest of the country to see real growth in the market. Compared to June 2016, Auckland’s median price rose by 2.5 percent, with prices rising an above-average 12 percent in Manukau.
While Auckland is seeing falling sales volumes – they are down 33.2 percent for the year to June - the positive news is that prices remain steady. Anecdotal evidence suggests that fewer sales are due to both first home buyers and investors leaving the market due to more stringent bank lending requirements and a cautious approach towards income to debt ratios. Add winter and an election year on top of that and it’s a chillier market at the moment.
Interestingly though, the data shows an emerging trend of section sales in Auckland occurring more quickly than dwelling sales, highlighting that the demand for land remains strong.
Despite the numbers above, the REINZ says it’s not time to talk of a decline in prices just yet. The Auckland property market is the most mature in terms of the property cycle, while the regions have only recently caught up with large price gains. If you were around for the last election year, you’ll know that the nation tends to wait with bated breath as the election looms, so this market is likely to stay until the election is over. Ultimately though what still underlies the housing market is a gap between demand and supply, and while moments like election paralysis are fleeting, a scarcity of Auckland housing isn’t going to go away so quickly.
Source: REINZ, July 2017
Cold days and early sunsets might not sound like the ideal time to sell your home, but it pays to remember two important truths of property sales. Firstly, there are always buyers who need to move at this time of year. It might be due to a job change, needing to upsize to welcome a new addition to the family, or a change of location for next year’s school zones. Secondly, well-presented homes in good locations are still selling well (although it may take just that little bit longer now than when the market was red hot).
And of course, there are some simple things you can do to make sure that when a purchaser is faced with a selection of properties, yours is the one they want to call home. The first essential on the list when selling at this time of year is to create a warm, inviting haven. The day may be blustery, but the interior of your home should be warm, light, and entice open home attendees to curl up on your sofa with a book. Plus this gives you the chance to show off your gas fire or central heating – and if possible, your bathroom underfloor heating.
There’s also nothing like a subtle (non-polarising) aromatherapy to give the smell of home and don’t forget the lighting: use a combination of ceiling lights and carefully positioned lamps to make the home bright and light. This is essential during particularly gloomy weekends or open homes that start after 3pm.
First impressions count and the exterior of your home does need more of a spruce up during the lean months of winter. Make sure the landscaping is immaculate, any windblown leaves have been swept from the path, and that the grass remains tidy. You may even want to invest in a couple of colourful plants to greet visitors as they enter your home, to give them a taster of what summer can look like.
Finally, remember that the property market is dictated by the shifting levers of supply and demand. There are fewer homes on the market in winter, while demand remains fairly steady, so get a head on your property sale before all the spring prospective vendors hit the market.