Slow-motion market

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Real estate in the Wakatipu usually jumps in January – not this year. 

Sales were down a third, average selling time stretched beyond two months – and prices dipped. 

How come – and what’s the outlook? 

Local Real Estate Institute spokesman Adrian Snow was unavailable so Mountain Scene called veteran Locations realtor Greg Ross, entering his fourth decade as a local agent. 

“The market is probably drawing breath,” Ross says, “[based on] possible changes to taxation and the effects of whatever happens with any government announcement on property.” 

While a capital gains tax was virtually excluded by the government last week, buyers, sellers – and realtors – must agonise until May before learning what changes will come in. 

Meantime folk are sitting on their hands, Ross believes. 

“Some people are probably saying ‘Why rush now – we may as well wait [until May] and see exactly how this is all going to pan out.” 

He has another interesting take on “quiet” January. 

“There were fewer mortgagee sales in January [whereas] there were quite a few in November and December.” 

And that’s probably why apartment sales were down, Ross adds – only two sold last month. 

Mortgagee apartment sales may again stimulate the market later this year, he predicts. 

“There’s probably still a lot of finance companies hanging on to some pretty toxic debt from speculators and property developers.”