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Boom and bust property sector in New Zealand facing huge job losses

The Bank of New Zealand is predicting the credit crunch will cost 32,000 jobs over the next year in these boom and bust industries as the unemployment rate rises from 4.2% now, to 6% by the end of 2009.

The finance sector has lost 4,600 jobs, the tourism sector has been hit by 10,500 job losses and real estate agents have already taken a huge hit.

Real Estate Institute president Mike Elford said job losses could now amount to 10 to 15% of the country's 16,000 registered estate agents.

The building industry is also facing many thousands of job losses, mainly among the smaller building firms.

Also under pressure are housing companies such as Lockwood, Signature and Jennian Homes, as well as mortgage brokers, valuers and housing financiers.

Harcourts, New Zealand's biggest real estate chain with 180 offices, said that average sale prices have dropped 11%.

Its activity statistics show that October was a very slow month, significantly behind October last year, and November is not expected to be any better.

Many estate agents are not expecting the property market to pick up until well into 2010 and prices could remain well below their 2007 peak until into 2013.