House buyers out in force as local auctions resume

Raglan’s first post-Covid house auctions have gone off with a bang – of the hammer.

Three properties were snapped up last weekend as multiple bidders, some of whom travelled from auction to auction, sought a slice of Raglan real estate in what one agent described as a “very buoyant” market.

LJ Hooker said two underbidders who missed out on a Norrie Ave property that fetched $1 million-plus then went on to buy Ray White-listed homes in Johnson Drive and Pokohui Ave.

Ray White Raglan agent and auctioneer Julie Hanna confirmed one of the latter properties sold under the hammer and the other by post-auction negotiation. Both attracted multiple bidders and sold at what she described as good price levels.

“The vendors were ecstatic,” she said.

Ray White Raglan had been “extremely busy” since the easing of the nationwide lockdown, she added. “There have been lots of purchases.”

Julie – who at the height of the lockdown busied herself delivering supermarket groceries to households about town – reckoned her feet had hardly stopped running since the property market’s return to near normality. “What a buzz!” she added.

LJ Hooker’s Michelle O’Byrne – co-agent with her husband Stephen for the Norrie Ave property that sold at auction last Saturday – also said she’d hardly stopped post-Covid, and that “everyone’s still buying”.

She said five people had made offers – more commonly it might have been two – when  LJ Hooker’s first post-Covid deadline sale, of a Te Mata lifestyle block, closed off a week ago.

Other deadline sales – in Government Rd and Rose St for instance – had been brought forward because of multiple offers, she said. “It’s a very positive market.”

LJ Hooker principal Greig Metcalfe said people had two-and-a-half months of catching up to do, which was making the market “very active” and was in turn encouraging for the vendors.

If people were thinking of selling they shouldn’t wait for spring, he advised, bearing in mind the lower interest rates at the moment too. “Now’s the time.”

That view was backed up by Michelle O’Byrne, who felt there could be a dip in real estate activity in three to six months once wage subsidies had ended and there was a possibility of more job losses.

Meanwhile Richard Thomson of PGG Wrightson Real Estate – whose work is mostly Raglan-based – described the current level of interest in local listings as exceptional, with a greater flurry of activity the last couple of weekends than was usual at this time of year.

“It’s probably the busiest we’ve ever been.”

While acknowledging interest was also good in other areas, he said some of the 170 PGG Wrightson agents nationwide were struggling in the current climate.

Raglan was the place to which people wanted to come and live, Richard believed, because it was the one Waikato town that afforded a beach lifestyle within easy reach of a city.

He suspected people had also had time over the lockdown to evaluate their priorities. “They’re jealous of what we have here.”

Richard added a lot of the recent interest was in lifestyle properties, with people looking now at less confined living where they could grow vegetables and suchlike.

Edith Symes