Growing hesitancy in housing market as fear of missing out gives way to fear of overpaying - industry insiders

Remember FOMO? The 'fear of missing out' is a big deal in the world of house sales. But things have changed.

As a result of the Government's housing policy, there's growing uncertainty over prices, fuelling hesitancy with buyers fearful of paying too much for property. Hence, FOMO has now been replaced by FOOP - the fear of overpaying. 

Price growth hit a record high in March, but experts say that was probably the "last hurrah".

With the Government's housing overhaul increasing hesitancy, everyone is unsure of where prices could go next. 

The Hawkes are looking for a new family home. With young kids and a mother in a wheelchair, Cameron Hawke says they need a one-storey house and their beloved three-storey place has got to go.

But he's worried he'll pay far too much for a house and be lumped with a huge mortgage. 

"There's uncertainty about if prices are going to fall, or are they just going to increase more slowly than before," said ANZ economist Finn Robinson.

"So what we could see is people just taking a little bit of time to reassess the ground before they go back into the market."

Before the changes announced three weeks ago, home buyers and investors were rushing into the market, fuelled by FOMO.

At the time Adrian Orr, the Reserve Bank Governor, said FOMO in the housing market was creating a frenzy that could create "irrational behaviour", and warned Kiwis not to get swept up in it.

Now, there's a new fear buyers are getting caught up in. 

"The fear of missing out has taken a pause, and now people are definitely worried about overpaying for property," said mortgage advisor Michael Anastasiadis.

But politicians aren't buying that we're heading into a period of FOOP.

"I think it's important we don't just rely on anecdotes, and just wait until we've actually got the data that can back it up," said Housing Minister Megan Woods.

The data we do have shows what happened to house prices just before the Government's changes.

The national median price hit a new record of $826,000 last month - up 24 percent on last year. In Auckland, it hit $1.12 million. 

But with people put-off paying those prices, and the possibility they won't recoup their money, experts say the property party may have peaked. 

"So we will start to see that buyers will not be putting in offers at prices that they think the property is not worth, and vendor expectations may start to take a little bit of a realignment," Anastasiadis said.

What has been a seller's market, could soon be a buyer's bliss.