Upswing in Wairarapa property market
A recent spike in residential property sales and long-term growth in mortgage uptake indicates a lift in the Wairarapa property market.
More than 80 houses sold in Wairarapa last month and Masterton enjoyed a more-than 50 per cent jump on the previous month.
Locally based bank WBS (Wairarapa Building Society) says they have experienced "significant growth" in mortgages backed by residential properties for the year ended March 31.
WBS chief financial officer Derek Anderton says loan approvals over the second half of the year are up nearly 14 per cent on the first half of the year.
"We recorded our highest level of loan approvals for the financial year in February 2014, with almost one new home loan approved for every working day," he said.
The trend has been observed nationally with the major banks recording growth in residential lending over the year 2013.
Harcourts Hamill Realty principal Prue Hamill says while there are both new home buyers and investors looking at the lower end of the market, there has also been interest at the top end.
She says they are seeing more instances of multiple offers on properties, which shows there is more competition for the right listings, but there are still many vendors that need to be more realistic.
The current sales volume is nowhere near what it was in 2007 where around 60 properties were selling per month in Masterton, but last month's lift to 48 is a good sign, Hamill says.
Property Brokers Wairarapa regional manager Paul Joblin says it is too soon to tell if the recent spike in sales represents a lift in the market.
"As a rule the majority of the houses that are selling are in the bottom end," he says.
This is reflected in the relatively low median house price of $250,000 recorded in March. This compares to $400,000 median for Wellington in the same month.