Buyers getting creative: Harcourts

Thursday 22 May 2014

First-home buyers are using creative lending solutions to get into the market, Harcourts says.

The real estate agency reported that its northern region’s average sale price had reached $697,392, up 10% on the same time last year.

It said its agents in the northern region were dealing with people who wanted to get on to the property ladder sooner rather than later, and were finding ways to do it despite the loan-to-value restrictions.

In Harcourts’ central region, stock levels arte down 7.5% and average prices have crept up to $337,283.
Wellington’s property on hand, new listings and written sales were all down on the same time a year earlier, Harcourts said. But the average price in the capital was up 6%, to $393,361.

Harcourts said Christchurch had experienced a drop in the number of listings but an increase in written sales. The average sales price is now $476,695.

The agency said that was not a big movement on the same time the year before, but that April 2013 had been a record month.

For the rest of the South Island, listings, sales and average prices were down. Harcourts said it was a sign of loan-to-value restrictions having an effect in areas where they were not needed.

Chief executive Hayden Duncan said he welcomed Reserve Bank indications that the LVR restrictions could be lifted by the end of the year.

He said Auckland and Christchurch’s rising prices were a direct result of high demand and low supply. “This means the restrictions have had little effect on overall prices. Instead they have made it temporarily more difficult for first-home buyers to break into the property market.”

He said: “As our population increases, LVR restrictions will become increasingly ineffectual in Auckland. In Christchurch the rebuild is a long way from catching up with demand for housing. The restrictions have only ever been intended as a temporary measure, and I would applaud moves by the Reserve Bank to end them.”

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