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Caution Over Confidence: Buyers Tread Lightly In Current Property Market

LJ Hooker Group releases its May property trends, showing a monthly increase in sales, while new listings trend downwards. This illustrates that buyers are seeking opportunities in the current property.

The latest figures from LJ Hooker Group reveals an increase in sales, but a softening in new listings month-on-month. The number of sales were up 11 percent month-on-month (down five percent year-on-year) and new listings were down 17 percent compared to April 2024, and down eight percent compared to last year.

LJ Hooker Group Head of Network NZ Campbell Dunoon attributes this change in the market down to buyers adjusting to the current market conditions. Although the story is different across New Zealand, some regions are seeing fast sales and an increase in prices while our big cities are a little more stagnant.

“The coalition government has been in office for eight months, the budget has been delivered and now people are looking for some economic stabilisation and direction. However, despite positive monthly sales growth for LJ Hooker and Harveys offices, buyers are still grappling with the cost of high interest rates,” Dunoon said.

Caution over confidence

While there are still buyers in the market, the speed of transactions has remained flat as it is taking buyers longer to secure financing, which means they are being more considerate with their due diligence and property selections.

“Those who need to borrow money to secure their next home are being cautious about their next move. With property prices holding steady and interest rates at their current peaks, buyers are making sound decisions when considering their repayment obligations. While there is confidence in the housing market, there is caution from buyers who don’t want to borrow more than they can service,” Dunoon said.

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These sentiments are more a reality in Auckland than they are in other parts of the country.

“In Dunedin, the market has held strong, as shown in CoreLogic’s House Price Index which saw prices increase 0.8 percent last month. Our LJ Hooker Dunedin office has seen the results of a positive market. In May it had a 100 percent auction success rate, showing that when conditions are right, buyers are ready and willing to buy, even as an unconditional buyer at auction.”

Looking forward

With the government budget delivered, changes to the bright lines test locked in and assurance from the Reserve Bank that interest rates are likely holding steady for the upcoming months, property sellers and buyers have adapted.

“There are many milestones behind us as the property market searched for a spark. While that spark is unlikely to turn into a flame any time soon, caution is how buyers are moving forward. Across the country, there are opportunities to be had and in the regions that urgency is slowly returning. However, economic pressures have made property buyers in the cities more careful as they take their time to prepare for the future without biting off more than they can chew,” Dunoon said.

About LJ Hooker Group

96 years, 420 offices, 4,300 people, 4 brands

Since 1928, LJ Hooker Group has pioneered real estate since opening of its first LJ Hooker office in Maroubra, Sydney. It now also includes two boutique networks - Atlas by LJ Hooker in Australia, and Harveys in New Zealand - and LJ Hooker Commercial.

With 420 offices and 4,300 professionals across the Tasman, LJ Hooker Group boasts one of the largest residential and commercial sales and property management networks. In 2023, LJ Hooker Group transactions surpassed NZD$19.9 billion, managing 110,000 properties valued at NZD$89 billion.

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