Northland bucks the trend of falling house prices

This thanks to Auckland retirees coming to live on the coast

Northland bucks the trend of falling house prices

Auckland retirees and potential buyers looking for coastal or lifestyle properties have helped Northland’s real estate market buck the trend of falling house prices.

With average prices across the country falling 7.5% in October compared with last year, only Northland and three other regions boasted an increase, the Real Estate of New Zealand said.

Northland is the only region in the North Island to have experienced growth, with median prices lifting 2.9% in a year to $720,000, Stuff reported.

Real estate agents admitted, however, that sales and inquiries have eased, compared with the madness of 2020 and 2021.

Janine Goldsmith​, branch manager of Bream Bay Realty, said the market was “normal” compared to the extraordinary COVID-19 times in 2020 and 2021.

Auckland retirees, in particular, were attracted to buying on the coast and were surprised with how much cheaper the prices were compared with the supercity, Goldsmith said.

“We have a movement of locals, as well as Aucklanders, coming up because we live on the coast, and who wouldn’t want to live on the coast,” she said.

Goldsmith admitted, however, that many Aucklanders were just looking and weren’t in a hurry to move.

Steve Sharp​, manager of Barfoot & Thompson Whangārei, agreed buyers have become choosier and were taking their time to decide, Stuff reported.

With prices flattening, sellers were now more willing to negotiate than they were six months ago,

According to Sharp, local people comprise about 65% of buyers in Whangarei, with the rest being mostly Aucklanders, followed by people from other parts of the country.

He said lifestyle properties with modern homes and good sheds with prices ranging from $1.2 million to $1.7 million were the bestsellers.

“Buyers in this range generally have quite a bit of equity so aren’t as constrained by the banks’ requirements,” Sharp said.

A modern, four-bedroom brick home, with five-car garage and 2,500sqm of flat land in Maunu, for instance, attracted interest from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Wellington, and recently sold at auction for $1.6 million, Sharp said.

Michael Healy, of Far North Coastal Real Estate, said buyers further north were on the lookout for privacy, low-maintenance, and a sea view if they can get one.

Despite a lack of houses for sale in the area, Healy said buyers were slow to commit. He also noted that prices had slipped a bit, but not as much as those in Auckland.

Mike Beazley​, owner of Harcourts Whangārei, also said the market looked like a pre-COVID-19 normality. Many buyers were taking a cautious approach, Beazley said, including first-home buyers worried about rising interest rates. The properties that were selling well were those that were the best in their price bracket, he told Stuff.

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