As the curtain falls on 2018, it is an appropriate time to look at the year in retrospect and to reflect on the real estate market in general and in particular, on factors that have influenced market activity and trends throughout the year. Nationwide, the general consensus – supported by available market data – has been that we have been working in an environment where buyer demand has generally exceeded supply, and this has been reflected in record prices being obtained in many areas.

There was a time, which many homeowners and market followers will quite clearly remember when $1,000,000 houses were a rarity in Wellington, but that is no longer the situation. Latest property valuations show nine suburbs in Wellington now with an average house price of $1 million. The valuations, which are done every three years, show the average house price in Wellington City as $877,000; an increase of 45% on 2015. The nine, million-dollar suburbs are Khandallah, Kelburn (North and Central), Oriental Bay, Hataitai, Seatoun, Thorndon, Te Aro and Mount Victoria. Although these figures are government valuations and not actual sales statistics, they are indicative of market trends in the last three years including the current year. The market has been kind to home sellers and has offered many an opportunity to increase their savings by capitalising on the equity they have accrued or by upgrading or reinvesting in a rental property to take advantage of future growth opportunities.

The Wellington market was no different from most other localities during the winter months when an acute shortage of property for sale ensured that price levels were sustained during the quieter months. Prices are still holding up as we prepare this article, although the supply of houses coming to the market has improved somewhat offering a wider selection for potential home buyers. Multiple offers on good properties have been quite common during the year.

For potential home sellers considering their selling options, we urge you to talk to Tommy’s agent without delay. Whilst NZ virtually shuts down for a period over Xmas/New Year, Tommy’s will have sales staff working during the holiday period to cater for local and visiting buyers during this time. If the new year is your target date for selling, then December offers a good opportunity to prepare your marketing programme and photography, ready for the usually good selling months of January and February.

If you are a potential home buyer, take heart from the fact that the Reserve Bank has given a strong assurance that the Official Cash Rate is likely to be constant in 2019 and this should ensure that mortgage finance continues to be available at favourable and affordable rates. Furthermore, a softening of the loan to value ratios (LVRs) in the new- year will assist in making home finance more accessible for some first home buyers. Buying that first home may still be difficult but, is it likely to get any easier? Probably not –so take the step in 2019 so that you can share in any further capital gains that are likely to occur, at least in the medium to long-term.

2018 has been a year when Tommy’s has continued to enjoy a significant market share in our areas of operation. Our market presence has been strengthened by the addition of some new blood into our sales team who, combined with our existing, experienced sales and administration team, continue to achieve outstanding results. It has been a productive year and we look forward to offering a complete service in 2019 to participants in the residential real estate market. As a company, Tommy’s would like to thank all those who have bought and sold through us during the year. We are engaged in a service industry and are hugely dependent on the members of the public who provide us with an opportunity to assist them in achieving their housing needs and aspirations. We sincerely thank you all for your patronage and loyalty.

With holidays on the horizon for many, enjoy a break from the usual routines of life and cherish some quality family time with those close to you. Christmas is a special time and an opportunity to relax and look ahead for opportunities in the coming year. We trust that we can assist you with your real estate plans over the holiday period as necessary, in 2019, and beyond.

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