Homeowners are adjusting to a “new market” that’s led to a “spring rush” of listings and the re-emergence of first-time buyers.

“It’s hard to start thinking about a winter market when we have had the most amazing weather but what we have noticed is a large amount of properties coming to the market in May,” Tommy’s Real Estate Sales Director Nicki Cruickshank says. “It’s almost like a ‘spring rush’. 

“I think this is a result of so many people who have been wanting to move for ages, but in the recent hot market is was so hard to find a new house. 

“Now there is a lot of choice, and with properties taking longer to sell, more time to look and choose. 

“We are mainly seeing families moving between houses and traditional investment properties are taking longer to sell.

“Investors still have to have a 40 percent deposit and still cannot claim their biggest expense in interest, which will be ever increasing with interest rates climbing.

“But first-home buyers are slowly returning to the market as there are some good buys out there now at that lower level.

“The banks have also indicated they are relaxing the rules, although in reality it doesn’t appear to have happened yet.

“Hopefully those changes will appear soon, and we see a return of first-home buyers to help balance up the market.”

Nicki says vendors now recognise it’s a “new market”.

“Gone are the times of them thinking they will get out on top of the wave. But we are not noticing the prices significantly dropping further than they already have.

“Even if the market is down 10 percent or so, it is still better than it was a year ago.

“So conditions are still good to sell. It just requires a bit more patience, as most buyers do have a home they have to sell in order to buy their next one.”

Nicki believes prices have plateaued and there will be an “extended period of flatness” but expects this will have little effect on sales when people are buying and selling in the same market.

“We are in a new market now, and sellers are well aware of where the market is, so I think we will see a good number of properties transact. 

“A lot more homes will be bought subject to the sale of buyers existing homes.

“The best time of the year to buy a house is when you are ready, but winter is a good time to assess a new house because you can see what the sun is like, and whether the insulation and heating are effective. 

“If you like a house in winter, you will love it in summer!”

While a recent report raised concerns about the impact of climate change on coastal properties in particular, Nicki notes some buyers believe New Zealand is still a better bet than other countries.

“I met an Australian couple who have decided to move to New Zealand because of climate change.

“They drove all around Australia trying to decide where they would like to settle, and decided New Zealand would be a better option.

“It will be interesting to see if this is a trend.“

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