Hamilton house buyers play wait and see game days out from election

The election has put a damper on Hamilton's housing market.
MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

The election has put a damper on Hamilton's housing market.

Days out from the election potential house buyers are nervously waiting in the wings.

Statistics by the Real Estate Institute of NZ show the number of homes listed in Hamilton during August was down 22 percent compared to one year ago, and the number of homes sold was only 255, down 29 percent compared to last year.

The median house price in Hamilton during August 2017 was $546,500, up from $529,000 in July and up from $493,750 one year ago.

Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said open homes are still busy, but many of these potential buyers ...
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF

Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said open homes are still busy, but many of these potential buyers are in a wait-and-see mode.

The looming election has put a damper on residential property listings and purchases in Hamilton, Lodge Real Estate's managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said.

However, a lift in prices and buyer activity is expected in the city post-election, he said.

"We're seeing a typical lull in Hamilton's residential market activity which happens ahead of every three-year election cycle," O'Rourke said.

Lugton's managing director Simon Lugton said it's the uncertainty of the election result causing people to pause.
MARK TAYLOR/STUFF

Lugton's managing director Simon Lugton said it's the uncertainty of the election result causing people to pause.

"What we also expect to see is an increase in buyer urgency from October and through to the end of the year."

There seems to be more buyers actively looking to purchase compared to past election cycles, O'Rourke said.

"Open homes are busy right across the city. However, many of these potential buyers are in a wait-and-see mode primarily, we expect, due to the election.

Harcourts New Zealand chief executive Chris Kennedy is not surprised by the current lull in the housing market.

Harcourts New Zealand chief executive Chris Kennedy is not surprised by the current lull in the housing market.

"When you couple this increased demand with the fact that there are fewer homes available for purchase in the city, you have the perfect mix of supply and demand which is likely to result in a lift in the median house price.

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"Additionally, quality homes should get snapped up quickly once we have the election result and buyers start moving."

"We're into spring and usually there is a flood of listings, which just hasn't happened this year," Lugton's managing director Simon Lugton said.

"Staff are doing a lot of appraisals, but it's been slow getting these properties to come on to the market."

One little aspect of uncertainty is enough to make people pause, Lugton said.

"It's the closeness and uncertainty of this result.

"Unlike National's previous three terms it's not a foregone conclusion, and if Labour gets in it does mean some different policies."

Lugton said policy potential changes around capital gains tax and policies which effect the rental market like abolishment of letting fees and compulsory heating added a cost which might deter investors.

"Buyers will be considering all of these things, so I think people are waiting to see what happens and buying time to think about the timing of transactions."

Harcourts chief executive Chris Kennedy said New Zealand is going through an uncertain time, which has impacted on markets right across the country.

"This is driven by a degree I call the unknown," Kennedy said.

"People are looking for security of who is going to get in. If National get in people know what they've got. If Labour do people are going to be a little unsure, but in time they'll reveal policies and we'll get to know what's going to happen and it will either drive the market or stop it even more.

"Until people are sure on what they are going to get there will be a bit of stand back and wait until results are in."

"There is a lot of economic confidence out there, good solid net migration figures and good business confidence – couple all of that with relatively low interest rates and a national housing shortage and it all bodes well for business confidence and confidence within the housing markets."

 - Stuff

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