Time is right to sell your property

Homeowners in Palmerston North looking to list their properties need not wait for market improvement - it appears to be a prime time to sell.

New figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) for January showed there was a 37.5 per cent drop in listings in Palmerston North, with 70 homes listed.

The decrease in homes listed follows a poor December, which had a 6.7 per cent fall.

However, January sales prices increased by 9.3 per cent, with the average sale price now about $256,250.

A lack of listings tends to drive up prices as buyers compete with each other, but it can also reflect vendor caution.

REINZ Manawatu manager Andy Stewart said the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions were also continuing to cause uncertainty for vendors.

The restrictions on high-risk lending were brought in by the Reserve Bank, potentially shrinking the pool of people able to buy a home.

"December and January are half months for us, and during this time last year it was quite strong, which was a bit of an anomaly," he said. "I also think the LVR is having an effect at the bottom of the market and consequently rising through the market and causing a lack of sales.

"The only way we're going to know if we are getting back on track is the February statistic - 70 house sales in Palmerston North for January is very low."

Mr Stewart said the low number of vendor listings could be blamed on LVR restrictions and concern from homeowners about low buyer numbers.

"We've been at a fairly low level for some time, and it's very much as if some of the vendors are listening to everything that's happening in the reports and thinking now is not the right time to sell and not putting their houses on," he said. "The people who are listing are the ones who really have to - they're transferring or they're upsizing because their families have gotten bigger.

"But those who do put it on, they are selling and because there is a lack of listings it's an ideal opportunity because they're not competing with 200 properties, they're competing with 150."

An increase in properties listed was seen in Feilding, which jumped 31.6 per cent, and in Manawatu Country, which strengthened 5.3 per cent, on January last year.

A downturn in listings was seen in Levin, which dropped 13.3 per cent on January last year, but had a 23.8 per cent increase on the previous month.

Mr Stewart said the real estate markets in Feilding and Palmerston North were different.

"If you look at the statistics, it's strong in Feilding and it's consistently between 20 and 25 sales every month," he said. "I think people get more bang for their buck, a lot of people like the little-town environment and I think it is a very attractive place to buy."

Manawatu Standard