Demand at open homes through the roof

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The prospect of buying your first home should be exciting. But would-be home buyers in Nelson are dealing with a market so congested the houses are selling before they are even advertised.

And you only need to attend a local open home to see how competitive things have become.

Lines of cars, dozens of pairs of shoes at the front door and cramped rooms, are what house-hunters are facing at open homes around the region at the moment.

Attending an open home in Victory’s Emano St on Saturday was just a taste of how tough things are, with around 60 people squeezing into the three bedroom Californian bungalow.

With the fire roaring, sun streaming through the windows, and agents handing around coffee and chocolate – people were impressed with what they saw. But it’s a case of too many buyers and not enough houses, and people are missing out.

In fact, local real estate firm Summit Real Estate say they are experiencing almost a 50 per cent drop in new listings compared to this time last year.

“There are so many buyers and just not enough houses for sale,” says Summit Real Estate sales and marketing consultant, Jon Ichon. “Some buyers are really desperate at the moment.”

He says they have a number of buyers on their database who get to be “front runners” and view houses before they are listed, which an “essential” thing to do if you’re a serious buyer.

Speaking to hopeful house-hunters at Emano St, many said they were finding it “hard-going”.

Ellie Salcin was there with her seven year old daughter, and says they are looking for their first home after living overseas and in Christchurch. They weren’t initially considering the Victory area, but are now keeping an open mind.

“We looked a bit last year, but gave up as we got put off by the prices. But then we realised it’s not getting any better so have been hunting again since February,” she says.

“There are just so many people at open homes – you just keep asking yourself, ‘have we got a hope’”?

Rebecca McKenzie and Enola Turner, also first-home buyers who have just moved here from Auckland, say all the open homes they have been to so far have been “crazy busy”.

“It’s a bit of an emotional battering – you just see the same people again and again at the viewings,” says Rebecca.

Out on Richmond’s Washbourn Drive, a peaceful three-bedroom house that was just listed on Thursday had already gone to multi-offer by Friday evening, and is now under a conditional offer.

But yet, the open home still attracted around 20 groups all up, and the disappointment on people’s faces when they were told it was already under offer was hard to ignore.

Speaking at the open home on Saturday, Donna Ching-Tregidga from YOU. Realty says the amount of interest they are seeing is “huge” and most price brackets are “going crazy”.

“If we had five properties like this one, we would have been able to sell all five,” she says.

“We’ve had calls from Auckland and Wellington about it, with people willing to get on a plane just to see it.”

Donna says they are seeing an increase of out-of-town buyers, especially people who are returning to Nelson after living abroad, or other parts of the country.

House hunter Helen Dirkze, who has just moved here from Wellington, was at the open home looking for a retirement abode for her and her husband.

She says they have been “quite surprised” at the level of competition. “We thought we’d be spoilt for choice,” she says. “There’s not much coming onto the market right now. You definitely need to be a cash buyer.”

Another couple at the open home said they are looking to buy in Brightwater, but, due to a lack of properties, they were now being forced to consider other areas.

Donna says that both buyers and sellers are being really wise, doing their research and know what they want.

QV Nelson Registered Valuer Craig Russell says the Nelson market remains strong, with prices rising in both Nelson and Tasman. “Listing numbers continue to fall which is contributing to strong demand across the board,” he says.

The latest QV statistics show that Nelson home values rose 3.3 per cent over the past three months and 9.5 per cent year on year.
The average value in the Nelson City is now $451,124, and $446,291 in Tasman.