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Harcourts MarketWatch , May 2005

Harcourts MarketWatch

MAY EDITION 2005.

The New Zealand property market continues to operate at a very similar level when compared to the same time last year. Harcourts’ exclusive listings numbers for April were just below April 2004 levels making obtaining a new property a competitive experience for most buyers, particularly in key locations. With our written sales numbers just below April 2004, the strength of the market is still solid with price levels also reflecting this strength.

Perhaps the only surprise in the Harcourts statistics is the lower number of properties being offered for sale by auction. As the most common and accepted method of sale enabling buyers to compete under totally transparent conditions so sellers achieve the best possible price, today’s market with listings in short supply is ideal for sellers to use auction as their preferred method of sale.

Our strong advice to sellers is when interviewing a sales consultant and company on what options they offer to achieve the best possible result, ask them to explain auction and profile marketing.

Combined, they can provide a powerful advantage over other property sellers who didn’t select them.

Bryan Thomson, CEO

Harcourts New Zealand


NORTHERN
April 2005 April 2004 % Change
Exclusive Listings 586 847 -31%
Auction Listings 85 99 -14%
Property on Hand 1,720 1,936 -11%
Written Sales 573 568 +1%
Average Price $377,000 $360,000 +5%
A very tight listing market combined with similar sales when compared
to April 2004 makes for a tough environment for buyers. Anyone
thinking of selling in this region should be doing so right now.

CENTRAL
April 2005 April 2004 % Change
Exclusive Listings 479 397 +21%
Auction Listings 52 49 +6%
Property on Hand 1,563 1,461 +7%
Written Sales 475 557 -15%
Average Price $273,000 $259,000 +5%
A good listing month in this region has been a welcome relief for
frustrated buyers who have enjoyed more choice in some markets.

Prices remain positive at an average of 5% above April 2004.

WELLINGTON
April 2005 April 2004 % Change
Exclusive Listings 366 307 +19%
Auction Listings 43 102 -58%
Property on Hand 1,227 1,137 +8%
Written Sales 475 437 +9%
Average Price $279,000 $255,000 +9%
A better listing month in the lower North Island provides more choice
for buyers in this region with property on hand growing slightly.

Written sales numbers have also increased which demonstrates good
buyer activity.

CHRISTCHURCH
April 2005 April 2004 % Change
Exclusive Listings 630 570 +11%
Auction Listings 68 68 =
Property on Hand 1,759 1,677 +5%
Written Sales 542 624 -13%
Average Price $330,000 $266,000 +24%
The buoyant Christchurch market has seen an increase in listings in
April 2005 when compared to April 2004 as sellers look to take
advantage of buyer activity. Pre-winter price levels remain significantly
ahead of 2004.

SOUTHERN (EX CHC)
April 2005 April 2004 % Change
Exclusive Listings 274 261 +5%
Auction Listings 27 37 -27%
Property on Hand 1,155 1,074 +8%
Written Sales 271 261 +4%
Average Price $236,000 $209,000 +13%
Perhaps the most balanced and stable area of our country the South
Island provincial areas continue to display solid trading conditions.


Stay Flexible and Enjoy Choices

Whilst the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) did not increase interest rates at its last announcement on 28 April, there are some concerning signs looming that may affect the next round.

Businesses are now being hit with a barrage of wage demands due to skilled labour shortages (unemployment at its lowest in 19 years), and perception by employees that employers have not shared the benefits of recent economic successes.

The Government’s recent tax on petrol has not helped the situation either, and the inflation gauges continue to point up, with inflation expectations nudging 3% for the first time in four years. The high New Zealand dollar value has also not helped exporters and yet somehow, housing market sales keeps rolling on.

Perhaps this has been helped by recent “rate wars” by some of the major banks.

While great for borrowers, it seems to have come at the expense of profit and/ or marketshare for the banks.

So what does all this mean for us? We need to stay “flexible” to take advantage of and or be protected by market changes. That also means being able to take advantage of all the choices in home loan options out there. In New Zealand, there are over 60 lending institutions and thereby potentially over 300 products to choose from! Maybe it’s time to call your (NZMBA accredited) Mortgage Broker and talk to them about helping you through the maze of options and choices available to you. Sadly no matter how good your bank manager is, they will never be able to give you access to all these choices like a Mortgage Broker will.

Andrew L’Almont, CEO

Mortgage Express,

Tel: 09 379 4298

Harcourts Rural

Short-Medium Term Looking Good

The real estate industry managed the sale of 10,535 rural units over the 2004-2005 financial year according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) worth close to $7 billion, of which the Harcourts Rural and Lifestyle team also enjoyed a great year.

With the average sale price at $638,000 per unit, this indicates our rural property market is maintaining and in most areas increasing in value. The main contributing factors to these figures include:

• Supply - we are not making any more land!

• Higher production levels from the new farming generation justifies prices paid.

• Overseas money from investors and ex-pat Kiwis returning home.

• Corporate farmers.

• Financial advisors recommending rural land as a sound investment.

• Strong competition from rural bankers to fund rural land purchases.

• Farming is more profitable currently than historically.

• Emotive competition to buy rural land to expand existing operations.

• Diversification of existing land uses.

• Competition for non-farming development e.g. lifestyle blocks.

What will the 2005-2006 year offer? I believe we will see more of the same as there are no current indications in the short to medium term that demand for rural land will ease.

We can then assume land values will continue at current levels or perhaps even strengthen over the next twelve months.

Kim Shannon

National Rural Manager

ENDS

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate we recommend that, before relying on this information, you seek independent specialist advice.

Harcourts has been in existence since 1888 and is New Zealand’s leading real estate group with over 170 offices. In 1997 Harcourts moved into Australia where it now has over 160 offices throughout Queensland, Sydney, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania. Harcourts also has 10 offices in Indonesia and two in Fiji.

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