Hamilton's section-starved housing market saw 56 Rototuna sections sell in one morning to hopefuls who slept in their cars overnight to grab a piece of dirt.
Such was the demand yesterday for sections in the final phase of the Horsham Estate that sales opened more than an hour early, with only two sections left by noon. By the end of the day they had also sold.
The quickfire disposal came as no surprise to Horsham Estate sales manager Sandie George or city real estate agents and builders, who said Hamilton had been starved of new subdivisions.
But Harcourts Hamilton general manager Brian King said new economic confidence also played a part.
"This time last year that wouldn't have happened. There's more confidence out there and not a lot of choice. A lot of section sales have been resales."
Master Builders national vice chairman John Macdonald, a Waikato builder of high-end homes and commercial buildings, said the building market "is like someone's turned a light on".
"There's huge inquiry. The biggest problem is going to be a skilled labour shortage. So many have left the trade (in the recession)."
Mr Macdonald said the new construction demand was a combination of not enough houses being built in the past five years, the growth of Hamilton, low interest rates and Asian developers buying up land with imported money.
"But this is the norm.Those people buying the sections would be feeling their jobs were secure, they'd be feeling comfortable in their situation. Two years ago they wouldn't."
Lodge managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said the Horsham Estate sale was "entirely what you'd expect". "We thought it'd be an hour's work. Any subdivision coming on the market is getting huge sell-through."
First in the queue for the sections yesterday were Te Kauwhata sharemilkers Brett and Carol Dewdney who queued for 21 hours to pay $238,000 for their choice of section. Prices ranged from 550 sq metres for $192,000 to 770 metres for $255,000.
"We got there at noon (on Tuesday), we had been joined by 40 by 10pm, another 20 came Wednesday morning and they started selling the sections at 9am," Mrs Dewdney said.
"We slept in the car all night because we thought it would be popular and we would get there early. We got number one spot and pick of a section where we wanted to be."
Mr Dewdney, a builder, went sharemilking five years ago when the building industry took a dive with the global recession. But he is returning to building in June, starting with their new Rototuna home. Titles are due in mid-2013 and they hope to finish building by next Christmas.
The couple have three children and were keen to live in the area because of its schools and the shopping centre, Mrs Dewdney said. "It's just got everything."
The first stage of Horsham Estate was released in 2005 and yesterday's sales were limited to two sections per buyer.
Alan Agnew, a manager at Affco at Horotiu, drove from his nearby Borman Rd home to join the queue about 1pm on Tuesday. He was second in the queue and paid $249,000 for the section of his choice.
"It's a very good area and I'm told there will be no more sections in Horsham Estate."
Builder Alex Burns went to buy a section for a client at 7.30am yesterday but missed out on a section of choice.
"We got down there to find there was a sales person handing out numbers. It's an indication of the state of the Hamilton housing market.
"We are hamstrung for land. There's quite a lot of subdivisions being built at the moment but there's been a lag between subdivisions releasing sections and getting underway," he said.
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