Market confidence and the predicted direction for prices are proving an issue to buyers, HNZ completes the rollout of a new scheme that will benefit landlords and Finance Minister Bill English invites comment about tax changes that will affect property investors.
Lack of confidence and overpricing are two key issues holding back property buyers, according to First National.
The group's monthly survey of its 70 offices nationwide showed lack of confidence and properties being overpriced were named as prime reasons for declining buyer interest in 30% of locations in April.
Other prime reasons for lack of buyer activity included unavailability of finance (in 23% of locations), offers being conditional on sale of the buyer's own property (in 20% of regions) and uncertainty around pending tax changes (in 8% of regions).
However, First National Group general manager John Stewart believes the government's first home buyers grant through KiwiSaver may provide impetus for the winter market and badly-needed confidence.
"A focus on the first home buyer incentive is timely given the nervousness of some rental property owners regarding likely taxation changes in the Budget," Stewart says.
"It may well be that once the Budget has clarified things in that respect, that a number of presently rented properties will come on the market and be snapped up by diligent youngsters."
Listings in April across First National's offices increased slightly from March with the biggest jumps in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland regions (up to 4% each). Numbers of listings dropped slightly (by up to 2%) in Wanganui/Manawatu, Taranaki and Christchurch but were static in other regions.
Property investors will benefit from building relationships with Housing New Zealand (HNZ), as it finishes rolling out a new initiative to help put people into alternative housing options.
The HNZ Options and Advice service will see customers provided with information about the private rental market, home ownership and government assistance available to help them sustain their current housing situation.
The service has been rolled out in three phases over the last three months, being completed last week, meaning the scheme is now available in all 43 of HNZ's neighbourhood units. Its initiation became necessary due to the reality that HNZ could not house everyone who walked through its doors.
"Options and Advice is about being smart, by joining people up with other government and non-government services or the private rental sector to provide them with a broader suite of options," Housing Minister Phil Heatley says.
HNZ director of operations Northern and Southern Fran Hoover says benefits for private rental agents will be that properties will be promoted on lists at HNZ receptions provided by private rental agents, prospective tenants will be linked into advice on sustaining a tenancy, for example budgeting advice and prospective tenants may have access to redirection of benefit.
Finance Minister Bill English has invited the public to vote on their thoughts about possible tax changes that will affect property investors on his website.
Do you support tax changes to investment property? Have your say while you can, here.