More estate agents are seeing increased activity from first home buyers and sustained interest from property investors, according to the second BNZ-REINZ Market Survey.
The survey of real estate agents found a net 19% of respondents said they had seen more first time buyers in the market than a month ago, and a net 2% of agents reported seeing more investors in the market over the past month.
"Because this report was positive it suggests the strong lift of a net 19% in the net percent in April noticing more investors has been sustained," the report said.
"Investors are becoming more active in the market."
The survey also found March's increases in the number of respondents reporting increased open home visits had been sustained, with a net 7% of respondents seeing more people go through open homes than last month.
"This is a much smaller proportion than the net 28% noticing more people in April. What this tells us is that in March there was a strong shift upward in the presence of open home visitors and that numbers of attendees have been sustained in April and gone up slightly further."
The survey found a net 7% of respondents said they had seen more sales going unconditional over the past month. Last month the proportion was a net 29% so the jump in sales using the measure achieved in March has been sustained and somewhat bettered in April.
"This tells us that buyers are showing improving commitment to going through with their initial offers," the report said.
On prices the survey found little movement.
Last month a net 4% of respondents said they felt prices were still falling and this month the result was essentially the same at a net 7%. The report said this gelled with a reduced clearance rate at auctions and the decline in the number of potential vendors requesting appraisals.
"Price movement in New Zealand's real estate market this early in the upward stage of the housing cycle remains weak."
On whether buyers or sellers appear to be more motivated the survey found a net 4% of respondents believe sellers are more motivated, down from a net 15% last month suggesting that underlying the various movements in the previous indicators there is perceived to be a shift underway toward sellers starting to hold the upper hand, "though the market is not at that point yet."
As for why buyers may be holding back, the survey found problems selling a current property and accessing finance were cited.
The report summed up the survey results saying we are in the early stages of a cyclical recovery in the residential real estate market.
"It remains a buyers market though less than last month even though most licensed real estate agents in our survey feel prices are still falling," the report said.
"First home buyers are increasingly appearing in the market, while investors have increased their presence though not as noticeably as for owner occupiers."