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I started writing this property-focussed column for Squirrel Mortgages back in June this year. If you’ve been reading it from then you'll still be surprised like I am that housing markets around the country are so strong, but not as surprised as those who haven't had the chance to read it.
It is now hard to believe that there could be more than a handful of people left in the country thinking the Covid-19 crisis will cause house prices to fall in New Zealand. So what's causing the demand? One thing mainly: the biggest net migration boom New Zealand has ever seen.
One of the strongest expectations most of us have had regarding the impact of fighting Covid-19 from early this year, has been that construction of houses will fall away. This expectation was soundly based but the chances of that are getting slimmer by the day.
Back in March, as we headed into lockdown, most forecasts for our economy and housing market were decidedly on the pessimistic side. Things certainly have weakened off, but not by as badly as feared, and in some cases the post-lockdown spending surge has produced sales well above levels of a year earlier.
I recently talked about the factors providing support for the New Zealand housing market which included interest rates, a shortage of listings, and a long queue of frustrated buyers. One other factor that's just now getting more attention is the high number of Kiwis returning home.
There is a certain moralistic view which many analysts have of the housing market. It goes along the lines that people who make money from rising house prices are not as worthy as those who make money from working 40 hours a week, and one day they will get their comeuppance through house prices going back to where they were in some imagined glory days.
There’s no doubt that there will be some good buying opportunities over the next twelve months. To make the most of them you will need to be cashed up and ready to pounce. It’s about having the confidence, knowing you can land the deal, but also not misreading your lenders and their lack of appetite for risk.
There’s a lot of mixed messages out there about property at the moment. Some is from complete pessimists who think the world is coming to an end. Some is from the industry who are far too bullish and whose income is in some way tied to property. We’re arguably in the latter camp (given we’re mortgage advisers) – but we try to call it as we see it.