The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have started showing across New Zealand, with Waikato property listings dropping further during the country’s alert level 4 lockdown.
The latest figures from realestate.co.nz showed only 1,539 houses for sale and 757 new property listings in Waikato at the end of March, a 29.1% and 24.5% drop respectively from the same month last year.
Brian King, general manager at Harcourts Hamilton, commented that the market’s lack of activity is not surprising, especially during the lockdown.
“Our agents can't get face-to-face time with vendors, and we can't go through properties to appraise them. If the lockdown goes for a month, people can sustain themselves for that long. If the lockdown goes for a couple more weeks after that, I think people can still cope with that,” King told Stuff.co.nz.
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Jeremy O'Rourke, managing director of Lodge Real Estate, acknowledged the significant drop in new listings. However, COVID-19 cannot be solely blamed for the lack of houses for sale.
“When you sell your property, you want to be confident you can find a property you can move to. If people can't secure the property they want to move to next, they tend to sit in their own home, and it doesn't come onto the market,” O'Rourke told Stuff.co.nz.
“When we went into lockdown, we were in a housing crisis, and there was a shortage of stock. When we come out of this lockdown, we haven't fixed that problem. COVID-19 will not have fixed our housing shortage.”
Simon Lugton, managing director of But Lugtons, predicted that some real estate agents might drop out of the industry for a short term.
“If an agent has a partner who is in an unaffected career, that's great, they've got some leeway. [However], if they haven't, and they're the sole breadwinner, then it's tough times. I don't doubt there will be a recovery in the market, but I just can't tell you what month will be the beginning of that,” Lugton explained, as reported by Stuff.co.nz.