Property market cools ahead of Christmas

Last updated 14:50 14/12/2012

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The resurgent real estate market appears to be cooling off ahead of Christmas, according to a monthly survey of sentiment among real estate agents.

The BNZ-REINZ market survey said a net 13 per cent of respondents this month felt there were fewer people at open homes.

That was a sharp U-turn from November, when a net 30 per cent of agents felt more people were turning up to view.

However, there was still a strong perception that prices were rising, a view espoused by a net 38 per cent of agents.

BNZ chief economy Tony Alexander said that on the face of it, buyers were backing away sharply from the market, but it was possible they were adjusting to the prices "rather than failing to show interest at all".

Other indicators were mixed. On the positive side, unconditional offers were still going through strongly and there was a prevailing sense that the market had tipped towards sellers.

A net 12 per cent of agents said buyers seemed more motivated than vendors, up from 3 per cent last month.

Requests for property appraisals eased off although they were still in positive territory.

This was possibly "more of a return to normality after months of improving supply," Alexander said.

Asked what was holding buyers back, just over 21 per cent of agents said people appeared to be worried about securing finance and another 37 per cent felt there was a poor quality of listings to choose from.

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