Affordable homes for first-home buyers are still available

By guest blogger Chris Gemmell

The residential property market right now is positioned a little more favourably for first-home buyers who are being given a leg-up by the mum-and-dad bank.

It’s an ideal time for parents helping their adult children into buying their first property to get into the market now when there’s less auction pressure and the market has generally flattened off for a while.

The media tends to generalise about the state of the Auckland residential property market, but there are still some affordable homes on the North Shore in the $550,000-$750,000 range – a price band that is active with a diverse range of buyers. This includes not only first homers but also mature couples ready to downsize to a property with smaller easy-care grounds, enabling them to create a healthy nest egg for retirement and travel. Generally these properties are marketed with a price guide and buyers tend to react very quickly as they know their pre-approved financial limits. Many are being conditionally sold, allowing time to confirm finance and complete building inspections.

Typically we experience a slower rate of sales in July due to seasonal factors such as school and tertiary holidays and the grotty weather. Buyers often tend to take a breather around this time. And sellers often wait until the warmer weather before they put their properties on the market, acting on the assumption that buyers will come out of the woodwork again in spring.

Because of the shortage of housing stock coming onto the market, if properties are positioned well for sun, are free draining and well presented, they’ll always sell well – regardless of the time of year.

The properties that have remained on the market for several months, having been carried through from autumn, are often those where owners’ price expectations have remained at previous 2016 peak levels (particularly in the $1,000,000-$2,000,000 price bracket) and no adjustment has been made to the new value norms.

If properties are overpriced they tend to stay on the market too long and become stale. This can result in the property being withdrawn from the market for a period or the owner being forced to sell for a price much lower than the asking price because buyers perceive there must be a problem, or they have simply moved on.

These days buyers come onto our radar at Lochore’s very quickly. We’ve made it easy for buyers to spot new listings. Over 85% of our enquiries come from our online marketing initiatives. That’s huge. However, there’s still a need for print media as part of a marketing campaign to complement a property’s online presence.

At Lochore’s we love on-site auctions and we have an outstanding success rate with them. On-site auctions can work well when there’s a shortage of properties to buy, or with properties that are very unique and hard to place a value on. Buyers are more emotionally charged when they have other potential buyers bidding against them. There’s something about would-be buyers standing on the actual property they’re bidding for that makes the prospect of ownership feel more tangible, more real, more achievable. This contrasts greatly with multiple auctions held in agents’ rooms, which can seem more impersonal and where there are likely to be more real estate agents present than genuine bidders.