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01 October 2023

Residential markets still a long way from recovery

By Graham Norwood

With residential markets still a long way from complete recovery, the ingenuity of anxious sellers continues to provide easy headlines.

In New Zealand, the sellers of a five-bedroom home raised NZ$1.2 million (Dh3m) after 48,000 people from 93 countries bought photographs of the area where the house was located – a means of getting round local laws prohibiting buying a raffle ticket for a home. The www.win-house.co.uk website, which monitors competitions around the world, reports that on Vanuatu – the South Pacific island between Australia and Fiji – a waterfront home valued at £900,000 (Dh49m) is being "sold" through tickets costing £25 each. Meanwhile, the Australian charity RSL Art Union – which raises money to support ex-service personnel – regularly raffles properties (www.rslartunion.com.au.)

The UK remains the home of the house competition, although not always with great success. In recent weeks, a home valued at £1m on Sandbanks – expensive waterside real estate in southern England – failed to attract enough competition entrants so the lucky "winner" was presented with a cheque for £41,000 instead of a home. The organisers of www.winathreemillionpoundhome.com, whose competition is still running, hope for a better response.

There are others running now around the world. A vast 1,400 square metre villa on the Côte d'Azur is selling tickets for €25 each while in Florida a $1.3m home is being raffled for charity. These are novelty ideas to brighten the day but behind the scenes they combine to prove one point: housing markets are not back to normal. Not quite yet, anyway.


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