16 Nov 2009

Real estate firm disputes mini-housing boom claim

11:00 pm on 16 November 2009

A leading real estate company is dismissing claims of a mini-boom in the New Zealand housing market.

Latest figures issued last week show housing prices are nearly back where they were at the height of the housing boom in 2007, athough the number of sales are well down.

Real Estate Institute figures show the national median price in October reached a 10-year high of $355,000, with many commentators talking of a seller's market.

But John Stewart, chief executive of First National Real Estate, says categorically there is no boom and anyone who thinks it is now a seller's market is mistaken.

Mr Stewart told Morning Report only a limited number of good houses are selling and people are cherry picking.

People who lose the opportunity to buy the house of their choice are sitting back, instead of buying the second or third best option, he says.

Mr Stewart says most homes are still selling for 10% to 15% less than two years ago and it is First National's contention that, in general, an artificial median price is being set.