Property Insights

Housing is now a Buyer's Market

February 2, 2022

Economist Tony Alexander is declaring residential real estate a buyer's market, following the release of the latest Tony Alexander/Real Estate Institute of New Zealand survey of real estate agents.

Among the key findings:

  • FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out) has essentially disappeared from the market. Only 20% of agents in this month's survey have reported seeing FOMO on the part of buyers - down form 70% in late October. Buyer urgency has evaporated.
  • The number of people attending open homes continues to decline. A record number of agents have reported seeing fewer people at open homes for the second month in a row.
  • Fewer people are attending auctions. Agents report that buyers feel far less of a sense of urgency and that many are not in a position to buy because new lending rules mean they are unable to secure finance.
  • Worries about a lack of listings have all but disappeared.
  • More agents think that prices are falling than think they are rising, for the second month in a row.
  • Fewer first home buyers are in the market and their presence has basically collapsed since November after remaining virtually unchanged for most of 2021.
  • Investors are less interested in buying properties and more interested in selling.
  • A substantial majority of agents report less buying interest from overseas.

All of the above point to a buyer's market taking hold over February and March, traditionally the busiest time of the year for the residential property market.

"Real estate agents since September have been reporting more enquiries from property owners regarding the market value of their property," the survey says.

"This perhaps was an early sign that some potential vendors felt the peak in the strength of buyer demand was near and that the time might be right to sell while demand was good.

"Demand now however has fallen away substantially, listing numbers are rising, yet a net 25% of agents are reporting more request for appraisals coming through.

"This is good news for potential buyers as it suggests the rise in listings observed late last year will continue as we head into March which is traditionally the busiest month of the year," the survey concluded.



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