Property buyers increasingly fear missing out on purchase opportunities, says survey20 Jul 2021

FOMO is beginning to reappear in buyers, according to a New Zealand licensed real estate agent survey released this week. The results show that more than 60% of Kiwi agents have evidence that the ‘fear of missing out’ trend is starting to reappear in the market once again.

The REINZ & Tony Alexander Real Estate Survey for July has reported an upswing in FOMO activity, following a high in February and distinct drops in April, May and June.

While the extent of FOMO is down from the “frenzied” period of activity late last year and through to March this year, the survey says the recent Government tax changes and return of Loan to Value Ratio rules seem to have increased angst of buyers unable to purchase appropriate property in the current market.

“There is no doubt that the industry is still in a sustained period of price growth, and buyer interest is still high,” Harcourts NZ managing director Bryan Thomson says. “Fear of missing out is a very real issue, particularly with the market pressure of Kiwis who have been based overseas returning with their families to settle back in a safe corner of the world.

“With evidence that property investors have not flocked onto the market with investment properties as threatened after the Government rule changes, the low number of stock for sale will be worrying those wanting to buy property immediately, and FOMO will once again be an issue for buyers.

“This is where the skill and experience of Harcourts sales consultants will be noticeable in the market, working hard to list the best properties so buyers have a good selection to choose from and won’t miss out on opportunities to buy.”

Broken down into districts, those regions with buyers most displaying FOMO tendencies as reported by agents are Queenstown Lakes, Nelson/Tasman, Canterbury, Northland, Bay of Plenty and Wellington.

For two months in a row, more than 80% of agents say their buyers are concerned about a shortage of listings, with other concerns including interest rates falling after making a purchase, jobs and incomes, and high debt.

Other findings are:

- More than half of agents are reporting rising prices on average in their locations – up from 32% in May, meaning prices have not been majorly affected by the combined effects of the tax changes and return of Loan to Value Ratio rules
- Around 3% of agents report they are seeing fewer investors stepping forward to sell properties (compared with 12% in April), indicating there is no wave of investor selling warned about after the Government rule changes
- More than 50% of agents say there are fewer investors in the market, with Reserve Bank influence cooling the fervour of investors
- Around 20% of agents reported less buyers are attending open homes and auctions, although that is tracking upwards on earlier months this year
- There is a noticeable stepping back of offshore parties interested in buying property
- The highest-rating factor for investors remains low interest rates, the hope of buying a bargain, and investing for retirement.

The REINZ & Tony Alexander Real Estate Survey gathers together the views of licensed real estate agents all over New Zealand regarding how they are seeing conditions in the residential property market in their areas. Topics include activity levels, first home buyer and investor views, and factors which are affecting them.

These articles were featured in Harcourts Property Focus, Issue 4 2021.