Real estate agents are reporting a slight cooling in the residential market, according to the latest BNZ/REINZ survey.
More agents say they are seeing fewer people at open homes but there has been a rise in the number who feel buyers are more motivated than sellers.
“Overall the housing real estate market is showing some signs of flattening out but on the face of it this could reflect buyers needing to adjust their price settings rather than failing to show interest at all," the report said.
A net 13% of agents responding this month said that they were seeing fewer people going through open homes. This is the weakest result on record and a sharp turnaround from a net 30% positive in November.
The report said: “The change of -43% is also far greater than the drop-off in December last year of 20% and on the face of it suggests that buyers have backed away quite sharply from the market. However, given the suddenness of the change we need to make special effort to see if any of the other indicators we track show signs also of a decline in buyer interest. The answer is some do but not to the same degree, and some don’t.”
The net proportion of agents saying that auction clearance rates are rising has dropped to the lowest level since April with a net 12% positive from 22% in November.
But a still-strong net 27% of agents said they were seeing more written sales going unconditional.
The survey said that a net 9% reporting more potential vendors seeking appraisals indicated a return to normality after three months of improving supply.
Investor interest continues but the survey indicates a slight drop-off in the number of first-home buyers in the market,.
A net 38% of agents report they feel prices are rising. This is well above the average reading of 24% and statistically unchanged from November’s net 41% positive.
“Basically prices are seen overwhelmingly to be rising with only 31 of 421 respondents saying that they feel prices are falling. 192 said they are rising and 198 said they feel that prices are flat.”
Fewer and fewer people are holding back from buying because they feel prices will decline, the survey said.