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Harcourts' March Activity "Bucks Trends"

NEWS RELEASE

Harcourts’ March Activity “Bucks Trends” of Recent Months

The number of property sales contracts written by Harcourts’ 180 offices nationwide in March bucked the trend of recent months, with numbers closer to the highs of 2005 than the more subdued activity of late, reports Harcourts New Zealand CEO, Bryan Thomson. Commenting in the April issue of Harcourts MarketWatch newsletter overviewing Harcourts’ March 2006 business activity, Mr Thomson noted the month “saw the real estate market dust off the lethargy evident since late 2005 with Harcourts producing far more positive statistics.”

Breaking the activity down into Harcourts’ five main regions, Mr Thomson said the statistics did “vary significantly” emphasising the importance for property buyers and sellers to work with knowledgeable local professionals to ensure they made decisions based on the statistics relevant to their situation.

While overall a higher number of properties came onto the market in March 2006 than March 2005, providing more options for buyers, this was not the case for Auckland where new listing numbers were below March 2005. “This shortage of ‘new stock’ saw many Auckland listings which may have been around for a while find new owners as buyers competed for available stock in more sought after areas.”

Written sales numbers in the Central North Island were lower than 12 months ago, which Mr Thomson noted reflected a reduced number of new subdivisions being available in that area. In the Lower North Island the activity showed both positive levels of sales and increased listings. Christchurch was “very strong” with listing numbers up compared to the historic lows of 2005. Growing auction activity was achieving good results, however sellers throughout the South Island were facing increased competition and needed to be realistic to retain buying interest.

With March 2006 statistics showing there was still plenty of activity overall, Mr Thomson advised buyers and sellers not to become complacent. “Given the increased written sales in March, increased competition for mortgages driving interest rates down, and a shortage of quality properties available in Auckland in particular, the next few months will be interesting to say the least.”

ENDS

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