Housing market lifting: First National

Housing market lifting: First National
Real estate agents First National New Zealand said they were "cautiously optimistic" about a better year in 2009, with "noticeable increases" in open home attendances, web inquiries and general inquiries in the first two weeks of the year, compared with the same time last year. First National General Manager John Stewart said the Reserve Bank making good on its intentions to lower interest rates was helping, and that the fall in the Kiwi dollar had brought about more interest from UK and European buyers. "Without doubt we must accept and plan for the fact that any lift is going to be slow, sure and protracted. However, a quiet lift in open home numbers, a discernable increase in "˜buyer seriousness' and a lift in web enquiry has been noted in the majority of our offices," Stewart said. "In some centres this has translated into more contracts in the first two weeks of the year than for the whole of January 2008," he said. "In other centres even though enquiry is about double what it has been, buyer interest is yet to translate into a significant increase in contracts." "It's not just investors creeping back, or people coming in from out of town. There seems to be a little bit more movement from people within cities so that would seem to be a more genuine reflection of the market." First National has about 75 offices nationwide.

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