Flood of property listings expected in the New Year

Agents give their top tips for selling in the new year in a stagnating market.

13 December 2021

Pompallier Terrace, Ponsonby.

Well, you’ve waited out the final quarter of the year because you didn’t want to sell at Level 3 lockdown, or you had some things to do to the house first, but now you’re ready to sell in early 2022. So, how soon should you get the home out there and when will buyers be back in the game? Let’s face it, if you’re in Auckland, everyone wants to go somewhere over New Year’s.

Don’t forget the support network you’ll need to sell the house – agents, solicitors, mortgage advisers, home stagers, tradies – will all be wanting a well-earned break over Christmas and New Year’s and into January.

But, there’s still plenty of business to be done in the first month of 2022. A number of busy Auckland agents plan to be around as they seek to help sellers move on with their lives. Seasoned Barfoot & Thompson agent, Anna Lechtchinski, says she’ll only be taking a couple of days.

“I’ll disappear for two to three days, but it won’t be like a holiday period at all,” says Anna, who noted she’s seeing a correction in her market of Avondale and its environs, and she wants to be around to help sellers. She’s just boosted a pretty property in Avondale on Trade Me and extended the auction date in a bid to get more buyers through.

35 Maple Street, Avondale.

Ray White Pt Chevalier’s Lawrence von Sturmer also says he’ll be working through Christmas and has listings starting from 10 January onwards. If you’re thinking of selling soon, talk to your lawyer and make sure they’re available, he advises.

There was a big increase of listings in his market in December which means the market’s been diluted and buyers have a better selection. But if all the houses sell before Christmas it might well be a good time to put a house on the market in the New Year, he says.

“Last year we sold houses between Christmas and New Year, it usually happens,” he adds.

“Property websites don’t close, and buyers sitting at holiday homes are still getting notifications about new listings,” he says. A lot of expats usually come home over the Christmas break but that will happen less this year.

Business still happening in January

“It’s a myth that the real estate marketplace shuts over New Year, it doesn’t, it continues on,” says Harcourts Managing Director, Bryan Thomson.

This year, most agents will work up until Friday, 24 December, he says. “And I don’t think there will be much of a breather with buyer demand still strong,” he adds. “The market has been frantically busy and people have been going out of their way to sell.”

The vast bulk of people looking to buy and sell need it for genuine reasons (they’re not speculators) and the market will light up earlier than before, he says.

And if you’re concerned as a seller about buyers finding it harder to secure finance, quite a big proportion of the buyer population are not raising mortgage funds to buy, says Bryan.

If selling in the New Year get bookings in now

Try to organise home staging, photography and your marketing plan before Xmas.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to put your home on the market in January, do all your homework now, advises the Harcourts MD.

He suggests organising the house photography before Christmas, signing off your marketing programme, and having the home staging set up to hit the market.

“If I was looking to sell my property, I’d have things all sorted before Santa comes,” says Bryan.

Not all lawyers will be off to the beach with their phones turned off, adds the Harcourts managing director.

“No one is uncontactable anymore,” says Bryan. Have the contract signed, then the need for the solicitor again is close to the auction date. With a couple of weeks’ marketing, the auction can be building momentum from mid to late January, he says.

Buyers, meanwhile, should get their financial affairs in order before looking in the New Year. There’s nothing more soul-destroying than finding something not in your price range. People aren’t getting financial approval overnight at the moment so allow enough time for that and work with a reputable mortgage adviser, he says.

Historically strong clearance rate in January

A plus about January, according to Ray White Chief Operations Officer, Daniel Coulson, is that the month tends to have a strong clearance rate of home sales. There were more registered bidders per property in January 2021 than in December 2020, he says.

With more headwinds to come in 2022 and rising interest rates, he says: “I would be saying to the homeowner, market conditions are still strong but as the restrictions (LVRs, interest rates) take effect, if you’re thinking of selling, “I’d be doing it sooner rather than later.”

The way the Ray White COO explains the market to sellers at the moment is: ”We’ve been experiencing a king tide market, the tide has been in very deeply, now it’s high tide. You’re much better off in high tide than in low tide.”

There’s going to be a bunch of people sitting around who need a house in the New Year and there’s less stock than any given month in January, adds Daniel.

“We’re all looking for new stuff to come on, if you can beat the competition by being there early, you engage with more buyers who are coming out of the blocks with renewed energy,” he explains.

The advantage for buyers in January is they’ve got time on their hands with all the frenzy of December behind them, says the COO. School hasn’t started yet, they’ve got a bit of clear area to make a decision, secure a property, and they’ll know the biggest decisions been made for the year and they’re not even into February.

Market will be back early

Bayleys National Director of Residential, Johnny Sinclair, expects the market will be back pretty early in the New Year. There will definitely be agents around and can facilitate any sales, it won’t be an issue, he adds.

The top-selling agents might take a break of up to three or four weeks, but their teams will be around, he explains.

Johnny says Bayleys had seen a record month for listings in December, not just in Auckland but around the country. This has given buyers more choice. But he still expects a good surge of listings in the New Year.

The Bayleys director believes there’s going to be a plateauing of prices, as buyers are not following the market upward, but rather holding back. There won’t be the price growth that everyone has seen in the last 12 months, says Johnny.

“Without a doubt, what the RBNZ and the Government have tried to do has corrected the market, we’re really noticing that,” he says.

Blue chip properties will still hold their value,” he predicts.

If he was selling in the more affluent area, the Bayleys director said he’d be going a bit later in January, rolling out in the last week of January with a two-week campaign.

Putting it on in January is a smart move because you’re not competing with all those properties that come on in February, when the majority of stock comes on, he reasons.

If your house has a pool, January is a great time to sell

86 McHardy Street, Havelock North.

Emma Duncan from Anne Duncan Real Estate, recommends, if you’re selling in January, schedule everything as soon as possible; get someone in to do the grounds, trim the hedges, clean the exterior and find the agent you want to work with.

And, if you want to get some painting touch-ups, and need building supplies or carpet, now’s the time to organise it. If you need tradespeople, talk to them now.

There are still buyers for every property, though some homes may not be suited for auction, with changes to lending, Emma notes. Seek advice on the best method to sell your home.

Houses with pools are getting a premium, says Emma, and these properties will do very well in the New Year. She’s recently sold a home in Sandringham with a CV of $1.2 million and it went for $3.65 million. The home had been renovated and had a pool.

In 2021, the real estate market was off with a roar by the end of January and Emma expects the same to happen in 2022. She has listings in the pipeline and is optimistic, knowing a lot of people who have missed out but are still keen to buy. They’ll be looking at houses on Trade Me at the beach, she imagines.