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Keep On Carrying On

Covid-19 is back, forcing New Zealand into lockdown 2.0 and causing economic chaos again. But despite a lack of certainty over what the future holds, it’s best for investors to keep calm and carry on.

By: Miriam Bell

1 September 2020

It wasn’t the news that most New Zealanders expected to hear. Late on the night of August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that community transmission of Covid-19 had returned to Auckland. And that meant lockdown 2.0 with Auckland at alert level three and the rest of the country at level two.

Like most New Zealanders, I was dismayed and concerned by the news. On a personal level, the prospect of yet more weeks of attempting to home school my son while putting together a magazine was not an appealing one!

On a professional level, my first response was that it signalled more upheaval for the production of the magazine. That’s because the first lockdown meant that at NZ Property Investor we weren’t able to publish print copies of the magazine for two months. Instead our April and May issues were digital.

Back in March, we also had to change our lead story at the last minute to reflect the rapidly changing situation. These are, of course, minor woes in the broader Covid-19 scheme of things. But they are small examples of the disturbance and change that affected everyone, in some way, during the first lockdown.

Despite my initial anxiety, this time the situation has proved slightly different. Not being in level four lockdown means our printers can print the magazine. We did have to change our lead story again, though. It was meant to be on the election but, as that’s been postponed until October, so too is our article on it. Instead in this issue we take a look at what lockdown 2.0 could mean for the Auckland market, which had been performing strongly, going forward.

One of the key points to emerge in that article is a familiar one – uncertainty. It seems to me that this feeling is even greater during lockdown 2.0, perhaps because many New Zealanders had come to believe the virus was beaten and the road ahead was clear. Now that belief is gone and, as such, the future seems much less certain.

The various commentators we talked to in our lead feature make some interesting points. But it’s worth noting they all say that, much as our magazine’s experience reflects, lockdown 2.0 is not likely to have the same degree of impact as the first lockdown did.

Further, when it comes to the market, no-one is expecting it to crash. Nor do they expect it to be flooded with properties for sale – despite the recent passing of the Government’s controversial tenancy reforms into law (which we also cover in this issue). But for investors who plan to stick it out for the long haul, there could be opportunities when the market does, eventually, return to some form of normality and the economic impact of both Covid-19 prompted lockdowns becomes more obvious.

So what’s our takeaway message? Despite the upheavals of Covid-19 and the challenges posed by the tenancy law reforms, investors should keep calm and carry on. And, as ever, we’d love it if this month’s magazine provides some solace and inspiration to help out with that in these difficult times.

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