Wellington’s housing market continues to steam ahead but choosing the right time to list your home is pivotal to getting the best price for it.

“If you are looking to sell prior to Christmas, you really need to have your home on the market by the first week of December at the latest,” Tommy’s Real Estate Sales Director Nicki Cruickshank says.

“Otherwise, wait until the new year. Potentially around the middle of January is a good time.  

“Some people like to wait until after Waitangi Weekend to get all of the public holidays out of the way, but I am not sure this is as good as earlier because you end up with a lot more competition at that point.

“There will be the same amount of buyers but a lot more sellers, therefore taking a little longer to sell with less of a premium.”

Optimising when to sell is important, Nicki says. “However, the BEST time to sell your house is when you are ready!”

She expects the local market to remain buoyant over the next few months but says an upsurge in listings should make buying a house easier.

“The housing market is still strong – and there’s more choice for buyers now, with listings in Wellington lifting from an all time low of mid-300s just a few weeks ago to just over 570 at the moment, so that will relieve some of the pressure.”

Nicki believes tighter lending criteria could also temper the market.

“The number of buyers hasn’t really decreased,” she explains. ”What we are seeing is that when they get their pre-approvals renewed, the banks are being tougher and they may end up with a lower figure they can borrow, therefore restricting what they can buy.  

“Eventually this will have an impact on house prices – I don’t think they will drop but the rate of increase should hopefully slow.”

Otherwise, it feels like business as usual in the capital, despite concerns over everything from the spread of COVID-19 and rising interest rates to new lending rules and the loss of tax breaks for investors, Nicki says.

“I would suggest we are probably the least affected place in the country, the obvious benefit of being a government town in our current situation.  

“This is where the work is at the moment. The government is pumping a lot of money into the economy, and if there are well-paid jobs here for people this should keep the Wellington market stable.

“We have been very lucky and long may that continue.”

But Nicki acknowledges there have been casualties. “Investors are definitely not buying in Wellington at the moment.

“Unless it is a new build, that market will remain quiet for some time I would suggest.

“Also, the banks have really tightened up and have tested people to withstand some increase in interest rates, so that should also help in maintaining a steady housing market.”

She expects the market’s new normal to be more supply and “slightly less” demand.

“Maybe when we do open up again and get back to some sort of normality, we might see an increase in demand from Auckland buyers and perhaps people returning from overseas.

“These two parts of the market have been ‘missing in action’ for the last few months.

“However, there is never enough good houses in Wellington to sell, so although properties may take a little longer to sell and the prices will stabilise, I don’t see it changing substantially in the short term.

“But the state of the economy and inflation may have some impact in the longer term.”

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