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Houses selling quickly in Southland


Houses are selling quickly in the South - but real estate experts say it's for very specific reasons.

Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows properties in Southland were on the market for a median of 37 days before they were sold in February. A total of 199 properties were sold, at a median price of $215,000.

Pride Real Estate and Property Management chief executive Avinash Varghese​ said it was houses in the Richmond and Windsor neighbourhoods of Invercargill selling for between $180,000 and $220,000 that were driving much of the demand.

Houses-selling-quickly​"It's the young accountants coming here, which is very fascinating to see," he said.

"They wouldn't have this opportunity in Auckland."

Hoamz director Stephen Hebbend​ said business had been brisk recently at his company.

"We probably had our busiest month in several years just this month," he said.

"At the moment we're seeing great activity. This is the time to make the move."

Hebbend said a combination of low interest rates, little traffic, and safety for raising children were some of the reasons people were snapping up homes in the Southland market compared to an area like Auckland.

He said as long as interest rates remained low, he expected business to be busy.

"Interest rates aren't going to change shortly."

Improvements in the job market could mean business became even busier, he said. 

"It really comes down to jobs. Jobs are the big thing."

But Varghese said the investment property market was not experiencing a boom.

"Investment properties are not selling like hotcakes. It's properties couples can afford in the right area."

The rental market had also been mostly unchanged, Varghese said, though fewer properties were available.

He said the increase in the number of international students at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) had not led to an increase in rental demand, as SIT provided accommodation for many students and most students did not stay in Southland long term.

While demand for property had increased in Richmond and Windsor, the same was not happening in South Invercargill,  Varghese said.

While a 600 square metre piece of land might sell for $110,000 in Windsor, land of the same size might be $14,000 in South Invercargill.

"Finding a property in South Invercargill with good return [on investment] and a great rate is very possible."

REINZ data revealed the 199 properties sold in Southland in February sold for a total of $49.1 million. The number is 1.22 per cent of the total value of all properties sold in New Zealand that month, when nationwide property sales topped $4 billion.