Declining number of real estate agents say house prices rising, survey shows

A real estate survey has revealed a declining number of agents are seeing house price increases in their locations.  

The New Zealand Home Loans Property Report by independent economist Tony Alexander, released on Tuesday, gathered the views of those in the industry on the current residential housing market conditions. Real estate agents were asked how activity levels were changing, the views of first-home buyers and investors, and the factors affecting sentiment in those groups.  

Of the 324 respondents, a net 28 percent of agents said prices were rising in their locations in November.  That was down from October - when 34 percent percent reported prices were rising.  

That showed "although an initial burst of buyer demand has passed, the momentum for prices remains upward", the survey said.  

The survey showed agents felt prices were still rising in all locations except for Taranaki, Manawatū-Whanganui and Southland.  

However, respondents revealed FOMO (fear of missing out) had also declined - down to 28 percent from 33 and 40 percent in the previous two months.  

No agents reported seeing FOMO Taranaki and Southland but, at the other end of the scale, 48 percent were seeing it in Wellington.  

Overall, however, the FOMO indicator "allows us to comfortably say that there is no frenzy underway in the residential real estate market on average throughout New Zealand", the report said.  

Tony Alexander.
Tony Alexander. Photo credit: AM/Getty Images

In addition, 47 percent of agents said they were seeing more first-home buyers in the market.  

"This is well above the average for the past three and a half years of only 13 percent and suggests the recent high proportion of sales being accounted for by young buyers will continue through summer - unless there is now a rush of investors underway," the report said. 

That rush of investors wasn't apparent in November, with agents reporting "no obvious lift" in additional speculators in the market; 22 percent said they were seeing more.  

Buyers' main concerns remained interest rates, accessing finance and listing availability.  

The fear of overpaying had also risen again, with 16 percent of agents saying buyers were worried prices would fall after purchasing - up from 10 percent in October.