I was reflecting recently on how much we rely on the media! By the media I am referring to this oasis of information in its many and varied forms. We clamber for the newspaper every morning; we listen to the radio and of course, hasn’t the electronic media come into its own in recent years, now playing such a big part in the lives of most of us? We rely on the media in one form or another to keep us up to date on public affairs, local and international news, sports events and a myriad of other happenings worldwide. It also provides us with entertainment, leisure reading and is generally the font of information that most of us rely upon.
You will be wondering where I am heading with this topic and of course with my avid interest and involvement in real estate, my media focus is strong. Tommy’s relies heavily on the print media mainly for the promotion of our
business and the properties of the home owners that we represent. We are significant advertisers in the Dominion Post each Saturday and of course, the Tommy’s Lifestyle Magazine that contains this article is also an important part of our
promotional strategy. Readers will also agree, I am sure, that real estate news makes popular reading and features regularly in media
Why is this so? It is a known fact that New Zealand has a higher percentage of home ownership per capita than most countries in the
world. It is ingrained in most of us from our early years that we work to save, to in turn provide shelter and comfort for our families – usually in the form of a house or an apartment that we invest in and pay off over our working years and before retirement. This would be a fairly common goal of the vast majority of New Zealanders.
We crave information about market movements, interest rate predictions and anything that may affect our buying or selling decisions and our ability to strike a good housing deal. This not only impacts on home owners or prospective home owners but also on those who are renting, as the price of owning property and of debt servicing, along with supply and demand, have a direct impact on the amount of rent that a tenant will be asked to pay.
May I suggest though that in so far as real estate is concerned, media reports need to be carefully analyzed and local “on the ground” advice sought before making real estate decisions, as too often headlines are sensationalized or reflect nationwide patterns, when local conditions may vary considerably. Tommy’s operates from six different locations between Wellington City, the Hutt Valley, Johnsonville, Mana and Paraparaumu and I know for a fact that market conditions and real estate opportunities can vary considerably within this relatively tight area, not to mention the variances nationwide.
I am not criticizing this particular article, but as an example, the Sunday Star Times of February 19th featured its main headline as “Buyers in for house bargains”. The article suggested that the housing shortage was at an end and that the market was likely to favour home buyers rather than sellers. This may well be true looking at the national scene but in so far as Wellington City is concerned, I have some reservations about this statement. Our city market has been very active in the months of December, January and February, but does not reflect an overload of property for sale or that it has suddenly turned to a buyer’s market. Again, I stress the need to get localized advice irrespective of where you are intending to buy or sell. To put the local market conditions into perspective, I quote from a media release issued on 14th February by Quotable Value:-
• While national values are continuing to increase, this is not universal across the country.
• There appears to be a little more market activity since the New Year with signs that decisions made over the holiday break are now being put into action.
• Over the past year, values in the Wellington area first fell a few percent, then recovered most of those losses since mid 2011, leaving current values just 0.4% below the same time last year and 6.2% below the 2007 market peak.
• Despite increased market activity, prices are generally quite static throughout Wellington. Properties in the lower price brackets are meeting the greatest demand although it is still important for all sellers to present their properties well and to price them sensibly.
In summary, whilst I agree with the above comments, read the reports but seek localized information on real estate in your particular area of interest from one of Tommy’s managers or established real estate sales persons as local knowledge is vital in making important real estate decisions.
Good luck and best wishes.
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