Rents could stabilise as Airbnb properties get sold, converted

People looking to buy, or sell, a house are starting to dip their toes back into the market under the lighter restrictions.

An auction sign outside a house for sale in Auckland.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

More house listings are being advertised under level 2, and over the weekend prospective buyers lined up to view open homes for the first time in nearly two months.

The chief executive of the Real Estate Institute, Bindi Norwell, said there is more choice coming on to the market.

“We have increased activity. People who have been in lockdown for weeks can now get on with buying and selling their interests.”

Norwell said some of those are investors offloading short-term holiday rentals but mostly it is typical vendors looking to move house.

“In terms of the investors, a lot turned their properties from Airbnb into long term-rentals but some others are now thinking about selling, because of the change in dynamics particularly around the tourism market.”

Prices went up in REINZ’s latest data, but that could be the affect of the buoyant market in March.

April sales prices were likely based off transactions that were already in negotiation from before the lockdown, Norwell said.

She said it’s too early to tell if this post-lockdown momentum will last, especially as more people are likely to face financial hardship in the months to come.

Renters’ market

Meanwhile, renters may find themselves in a friendlier market as short-term holiday lets become long-term rental accommodation.

Trade Me said the number of rentals coming on to the market has shot back up since the lockdown.

It’s property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said it’s an exciting time for renters.

He said while the rent prices are still similar to pre-lockdown, there could be changes on the way.

After two years of rising rents, prices should stabilise over winter due to the government’s rent freeze, more market choice, and the temporary halt on landlords evicting tenants, Clancy said.

“Tenants will see more choice than they’ve seen previously. If I was a tenant and was looking to move, this is a great time to see what’s available.”

He added that it was interesting the number of furnished rentals coming onto the market, and the spike in interest in this type of accommodation from potential tenants.

“Searches for furnished properties are up 35 percent.”

He put that down to essential service workers looking for this type of property, as well as potential tenants who may not own a lot of household items.

He said it is likely these properties will stay within the rental market.

“We may see investors who were once in the market wanting to cash up and sell, but the reality is, it’s likely to be picked up by another investor.”

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