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What buyers want: what’s in demand right now

Rosa Carter's tips on how to catch the buyer's eye

  • Rosa Carter
  • 21st Mar 2024
Rosa 2

The features buyers are looking for in a property in 2024

The New Zealand property market is constantly changing. Leveraging unparalleled real estate experience and market insight, Rosa Carter, MD of Canterbury Region, unpacks what buyers are really looking for right now.

What are your top 3 buyer profiles right now?

Right now we are talking to many downsizers either coming off big family homes or rural properties. Their preferences are for either single level or at least a master bedroom downstairs and there's a real shortage of high quality homes that meet these criteria. In general, they’re willing to pay good money for the right home.

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Family home buyers and second home buyers in the under $1.3 million market are really hot right now in Christchurch. A lot of the stock in this category are auctions that are being brought forward.

The $1.5 to $2.5M market is a bit stickier, these tend to be people who are looking to upsize their standalone family home. They can be more price sensitive and as they don’t have the urgency to move until they find the right home that suits their next stage of life, they’re more considered in their decision making. 

Are you finding that the buyers are really motivated to secure the deal before it goes to the auction room?

Christchurch is an auction market and has been for a long time. So buyers are comfortable with the process and if they’re working with an agent, they'll be coached on the strategic advantage of putting in a pre-auction offer to potentially knock out their competition from other buyers.

Are you seeing investors active in the market?

Yes, we definitely have investors. Christchurch is not typically on investors’ radars, but there are good yields here in Christchurch. There is a city goal of 20,000 residents living in the city so to meet that target what is being built is unit apartments, townhouses, multi-dwellings and from all price points from sort of $450,000 up to $10 million. In the lower price point that’s typically investor stock - they benefit from tax benefits, given that these properties are new and there is a high rental demand.  

What Buyers Want

How do your buyers prefer to search for property? Are they attending open homes, are they searching online or are they known to you already?

Typically, people come through an open home after seeing it online, but there is also a lot being transacted off market especially in that mid to high-end range. This is through us working our database and pro-actively pitching properties to potential buyers before they come on the market

What really impresses a buyer when they first view a home?

A pleasant energy, which is a hard thing to quantify but it often starts with good architectural bones. Not every space naturally possesses that energy, but the right stylist can create it.

The other thing is the quality of the fixtures and fittings, people pick up on those details. The quality of carpets, tiles, tapware and appliances for example.  You don’t need overtly expensive finishes, but quality fixtures do add value. 

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What is on the top of buyers wish list currently?

Right now, people are busy and prefer paying a bit more to have something that's finished without any work needing to be done.

What’s important to older buyers or those with older parents is having the option for a downstairs master or a second downstairs bedroom with a bathroom. A big plus for parents is their own ensuite bathroom and walk-in robe.

Our high end home buyers are looking for exclusivity, privacy and excellent garaging – room for 3-4 cars.

What are you advising your vendors about how to best appeal to buyers?

Great presentation and superb photography can overcome a lot of foibles of a house and that's where we bring our expertise.

More and more of our clients are moving out of their houses, allowing us to stage the properties when they are empty, which makes a huge difference as we can create a cohesive environment specifically for the target buyer demographic, rather than trying to make the existing décor work.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course! The homes need to be neutral in regards to personal effects, meaning not many personal items should be on show – a buyer wants to imagine themselves living in the home.

Another important aspect is marketing: do it once and do it well.  We take great pride in the effort and presentation of photographs and videography – getting this right is crucial for the success of a campaign.
What Buyers Want

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