Kiwis still house hunting during lockdown


Despite a nationwide property report showing new listings in March down 16.5% on the same time last year, it’s great that serious buyers have remained active online during the lockdown, says Derryn Mayne, Owner of Century 21 New Zealand

While the country’s level 4 restrictions to combat the Covid-19 pandemic had an immediate impact on new listings at the end of March, average asking prices last month remained buoyant across the country – up 5% on a year ago.

The popular real estate website also reported that the average time Kiwis spend on has increased significantly since the lockdown was put in place.

We’re all taking a wait and see approach, but it’s really encouraging that many Kiwis are using this time to look at property via the internet. The quality of a vendor’s online marketing strategy is suddenly even more important.

Including the likes of virtual tours, floor plans, video and drone footage can only help when potential buyers are forced to surf the net from home. What’s more, the likes of videos can be easily circulated on social media, increasing a property’s exposure.

Despite real estate transactions in hibernation and open homes banned, there remain plenty of Kiwi families needing to move or find a bigger home, empty nesters wanting to downsize, and first-home buyers keen to make the most of the record-low interest rates.

We’re seeing major widespread disruption, but that won’t stop people buying and selling houses when we come out of the lockdown. People’s aspirations will continue, and their housing needs and circumstances will keep changing.

It will be challenging, but there could be a flurry of activity post-lockdown with Kiwis keen to get out, assess their options, and make decisions.

A lot of people are clearly doing their homework now. Not only is it positive for prospective buyers to be using this time wisely, but prospective sellers should also use the lockdown to prepare their property inside and out for a future appraisal and sale.

While this latest property report confirms a significant hit for listings, it also highlights that prior to the lockdown the industry experienced a busy start to 2020 with a rising market.

We went into the lockdown with all the real estate fundamentals looking strong and housing stock in clear demand. If we can come out of it in a timely and positive way, we may just be surprised by the level of activity that returns.