Is it a good time to buy? To sell? What would experienced real … – Stuff

Interest rates are high, house prices are falling, but are still significantly up on five years ago; and we’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. What do those involved in property for decades make of the current market?
We asked three experts – a mortgage advisor, real estate agent, and property investor – people who’ve witnessed the vagaries of the property market before, whether they would buy or sell now, and what their reasoning is.
I can understand both the people keen to buy and those who are more careful at this time.
For some homebuyers, timing is important. If they need to move out of current accommodation, or sell an existing property, it just fits to buy a house now. If they can’t afford to buy with current interest rates, then they will have no choice but to find a place to rent.
Some home buyers have been planning to buy and are now in a position to do so. They aren’t focused on whether property values might drop as they intend to live in the home for a long time, and they don’t want to wait as they have a plan that allows them to buy.
If you’re selling one house and buying another, property prices aren’t significant because you are buying and selling in the same market – but it allows you to make the move you need to.
Opportunists, who believe they can get a bargain – more likely investors than home owners – will also buy in a dropping market. They want to buy low, so they can sell high, or hold onto it and have it grow in value.
You can’t be certain whether the market is going to drop further, but you do know that the house you are buying is most likely cheaper today than it was a year ago.
In my time in real estate, I have seen slow and buoyant housing markets and always people want to know what is happening next. Will prices go up or down? Interest rates up or down?
It would be nice if we had a crystal ball and knew what and when it was happening but no one knows.
Would I buy a house right now? Yes, If you are a first homebuyer, and you have a good relationship with your bank or have a good mortgage broker who can advise you how to get the best and most secure deal when it comes to borrowing, I would go ahead.
There are a lot of properties on the market and prices are affordable again. Some good doer-uppers are around as well, with the potential to make some gains in the future.
As for an investment property: If you are in for the long game, yes, I would buy an investment property. I would make sure that I am able to hang on to the property for years and cash in on the capital gain in the future.
If you’re looking to upsize, downsize or move to a different town, then yes, I would do this as well. The old saying "you buy and sell in the same market" is true. My motto is: Move forward with your life. If I wait for the market to go up to get a higher price for my property, I have to pay a higher one to buy as well. So why wait?
Because of the changed market, if I’d bought my house in the last two years, I might not be able to get the same price I paid. In that case, I would sit and wait and see what the market is doing.
There’s no need to delay if you are looking to sell one home and buy another to live in yourself.
Sure, I may sell at a lower price than I could have sold for last year, but most likely the buying price would also be lower. What really matters in that situation is the gap between the sell price and the buy price. If, instead of selling for $1,500,000 and buying for $2,000,000 I have to sell for $1,300,000 and buy for $1,800,000, then I am no worse off.
When it comes to investment property however, I would not sell.
Personally I set out on my property investment journey to derive a target income and as I have achieved that goal a while ago, I have no need or desire to buy anything else. Also, in 31 years as a landlord, I have never sold an investment property.
Traditionally, in an election year (such as this one) there is uncertainty in the market. Markets hate uncertainty, so that’s when people tend to sit still and do very little. We now have a situation where no-one knows if Labour’s war on landlords will continue past November, or will that war be suspended with very little roll-back on recent Residential Tenancies Act and targeted tax legislation?
One thing that’s certain is that, with the costs of building new going up by 16% a year, the recent drops in real estate sale prices will bottom out and before long resume their upward trends.
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