Century 21 continues to experience plenty of activity

by Roxanne Libatique03 Apr 2020

Century 21 New Zealand has confirmed that it continues to experience plenty of activity despite restrictions caused by the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown.

The government did not recognise real estate as one of the essential services to Kiwis during the lockdown, so open homes, private viewings, and auctions cannot take place in person. As a result, experts predicted that sales would continue to drop, and agents would eventually leave the market.

However, Century 21 New Zealand owner Derryn Mayne revealed that they still experience plenty of activity, including the launch of two new franchises in Papatoetoe and Queenstown last month.

“Most of our Century 21 franchises have significant rental portfolios, with the property management work ongoing and in many cases, busier. Having that diversity is an incredible strength for a real estate business at a time when house sales have effectively halted,” Mayne explained.

Read more: Coronavirus: Experts believe a recession is inevitable

Mayne confirmed that property managers had been quickly finding themselves negotiators between tenants struggling to pay their rent and landlords facing several fixed costs while relying on the property income.

“So many landlords are responding so positively. I’ve had a number whom we work with in my own franchise offering significant rent reductions for the coming weeks, with some even offering rent-free periods. It’s incredibly heartening, particularly when landlords traditionally receive a lot of unwarranted flak, and they’re not getting the financial relief many think they are,” she said.

“It’s incredibly impressive how Kiwis are dealing with the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and uncertainty, with the real estate industry witnessing first-hand some great examples of people stepping up.”

However, she warned that troubles could emerge following the recently announced mortgage holiday scheme.

“While many can defer their mortgage payments for up to six months, this is no holiday. Landlords will continue to accrue interest, meaning over the longer term, their debt will only be larger, and their mortgage will take longer to repay. Once tenants understand this, they’re more willing to land at a reasonable place as they can see landlords are not getting off lightly,” she explained.

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