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Residential Sales Market Update – April 2011

By Liam O'Boyle

22 Feb 2011 changed Christchurch forever but 6 weeks on what is happening to residential property sales? The Ray White McPherson Group in the month of March transacted over 50 sales with a significant number now unconditional. The bulk of this activity was in the least affected areas but 2 of the sales were in Avonside, an area impacted by the quake.

The lessons learnt and experience gained by our professional sales consultants operating in the post Sept 2010 market is proving invaluable in the current market.

The drafting of sale and purchase agreements to satisfy the requirements of lending institutions including insurance assignment and future coverage for properties is important. The role of the Real Estate sales consultant in ensuring the fulfilment of these conditions to the satisfaction of all the involved parties at times is demanding. When a property is being auctioned this work is done prior to the Auction, ensuring that potential purchasers are confident to bid for the home.

The questions we are now being asked are “what are the house prices doing?” and “what is the market going to do moving forward?”

To answer the first question, the number of confirmed sales in comparison with 2 years ago is quite low. As sale volumes rise over the next period price trends will emerge. Certainly in Selwyn and Rolleston area, with strong activity, there is some early evidence of prices firming. In Christchurch city, as expected, activity is greater in the least affected areas, primarily in the North and West of the city. Many of the properties that we are selling have damage, mainly non-structural, and with the benefits of insurance being assigned purchasers have the confidence to proceed.

Regarding the second question, “where is the market heading to?” we do not have a crystal ball. There are factors of de-population, housing stock destroyed and the effect of demolition and reconstruction labour force arriving into the city, will determine market trends.

As real estate agents all we deal with is the current pool of buyers seeking a property and there is clear evidence that there is an active pool. To the potential seller/vendor, promoting and profiling your property is as important as ever to ensure all those potential purchasers are aware your home is on the market, also reiterating that with the EQC system of repairs under $100,000 and the assignment of the benefits, purchasers do have confidence to buy homes with damage.

The city now has an opportunity to address areas of concern in the past around transport and inner city decline; with the reconstruction of a 21st Century CBD Christchurch is going to have a great future.

Tony McPherson

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