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25-05-2009

Record mortgagee sales as economic downturn bites

NZHERALD

Mortgagee property sales have hit an all-time high, with 201 recorded for March, a company specialising in property and land information says.

In the 15 years figures have been recorded, the previous highest was 191 last December, Terralink International managing director Mike Donald said.

The March total was a 378 per cent increase on the 42 forced sales recorded in the same month last year.

"The latest figures are a stark reminder of just how much the economic situation has worsened over the past 12 months for many New Zealanders," Mr Donald said.

Almost half of the mortgagee sales were in Auckland - 99, up from 10 in March last year.

The worst affected parts were Manukau and Central Auckland. Northland also showed a rise, with 19 sales in March compared with none in the same month last year.

Mr Donald said more than half of the nationwide mortgagee sales were held by private owners, 60 per cent of whom owned more than one property.

"This could indicate there are investors who are over-extended. Investing in property is no longer a way to make quick and easy profit."

Smaller finance companies were driving fewer mortgagee sales than they were in February.

"For the first time we are seeing that the recession is starting to impact on residential home owners, not just property investors," Mr Donald said.

Terralink derived its mortgagee sales data from legal registrations of actual mortgagee sales.

- NZPA

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