Motueka demand sees rise in prices

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 21/01/2014

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Heated house sales in Motueka have contributed to a new record high median price increase across the region.

Motueka was the star performer with the median house sale price increasing by close to $100,000 from December 2012 to last month while increases were modest in Nelson city and Richmond.

New figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show a median price increase of 29 per cent in Motueka for the year from December 2012, while growth in median house price sales in Nelson city hovered around 1.3 per cent and 5.3 per cent in Richmond.

A record high median price for the Nelson Marlborough region of $367,000 was reached, up by $15,000 from December 2012.

Helen O'Sullivan, Reinz chief executive, said Nelson and Marlborough continued to see an uplift in median prices and relatively strong sales volumes compared to the rest of the country.

"Market activity was stronger in December than November with more listing and a rise in the numbers attending open homes," she said.

Institute Nelson Marlborough spokesman Darryl Marshall said the results for the residential sales market across the Nelson-Marlborough region and the outlook for 2014 were good signs for continued economic growth.

Bayleys agent in Motueka Rebecca Kristoffersen reported last week that sales in the area had been "absolutely flying" led by a huge pre-Christmas rush.

"The prices we're getting are amazing and it looks like it's going to be a really good 2014," Mrs Kristoffersen said.

She said many buyers were people moving up to a new level of property, and people purchasing now with the aim of moving to the area in future. "Motueka has such a strong rental market people are buying now with the aim of moving in the next few years."

Residential sales volume for the Nelson region last month was similar to December 2012, with 146 sales in 2013 and 147 in 2012.

Mr Marshall said market inquiry and interest was decidedly stronger in December, with more properties being listed and generally more activity by new sellers and buyers entering the market.

"Visitor numbers to our region were present in the December lead up to Christmas with a lot of prospects approaching real estate offices in conjunction with open home attendances remaining high." Mr Marshall said median price levels showed growth on relatively static sales volumes, which stretched affordability for some but provided stability with price increases meeting consumer demand.

He expected the months ahead would give a longer overview of how possible money measures that may be introduced such as interest rate increases, may impact on the current confidence.

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"The loan to value ratio rules [LVR] impact is still real for first-home buyers who are having to track down additional borrowing options previously not needed."

Mr Marshall said there had always been avenues for people to borrow. The main impact so far had been that the sales process was more protracted, but most had been able to adapt.

"It will be interesting to see how it [LVR] impacts on new house builds," Mr Marshall said. He said people were aware interest rates were going to increase and that could impact on confidence.

"If people have to borrow more that will slow things down but at the moment we've still got strong seasonal activity."

Top ranking Ray White saleswoman Susa Guhl, of Nelson, said they cleared almost all housing stock last month due to huge sales, and Richmond was currently "going like the clappers". She said there had been quite a few estate sales and there was also a notable increase in numbers of couples in their mid 50s seeking to move on after family had left home.

Ms Guhl said the LVR had had an impact but agents had sought to help turn the problem around, and buyers had found ways to factor it in to their plans.

"It's not affected us a lot. Last year there was not a lot of really good stock for first-home buyers, and many are quite choosy."

- The Nelson Mail

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