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05-06-2009

Property market picks up after "abysmal" 2008

Landlords.co.nz

The property market extended its gains this year, with May's monthly sales continuing to improve after an "abysmal" year in 2008.

By Paul McBeth

Harcourts New Zealand said the volume of written sales was up some 35% in May from the same period the previous year, the market was showing signs of settling down. Chief executive Bryan Thompson was concerned with the decline in the number of listed properties.

"With the abundance of buyers in the market, there is actually considerable competition for good properties, and some excellent prices are being achieved around the country," Thompson said.

"Listings typically start to ease off at this time of year, but the number of properties coming on to the market is even lower than expected."

Barfoot & Thompson, the Real Estate Institute and Quotable Values all noted a pick-up in the property market in their latest data releases. Declining mortgage rates helped revive the housing sector since the start of the year, with two-year loans falling to an average 5.9% in February this year from 9.6% in March 2008, according to Westpac data.

A dwindling construction sector and rising net migration will probably create a housing shortage, Westpac said, and this will underpin prices in the short-term.

Harcourts said the stand-out region in its survey was the central North Island, where sales volumes jumped more than 70%.

The weakest area of growth was in the South Island's provinces, where sales advanced 10%.

It will publish its full audited figures for May in two weeks.

Source: Landlords.co.nz

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