Signs of revival in Waikato property market
Waikato's housing market has warmed up in the last 12 months, recording a 15.1 per cent leap in September sales year-on-year, a new report shows.
There were 799 homes sold in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty area in September, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's latest property market report.
That is a significant increase on the 694 homes sold in September 2011.
Of the regional total, 196 houses were sold in Hamilton city, up from 163 in September last year, and Waikato country recorded 149 sales last month, up from 134 in the same 2011 period.
Hamilton's Lodge Real Estate director Jeremy O'Rourke said the increase reflects a growth in confidence in the property market as prices firm and low interests rates hold.
"I think there is a lot more confidence in the economy and certainly amongst buyers this year," he said.
"Interest rates are low and prices have remained relatively flat and quite stable and there's a general feeling that Hamilton's economy is quite stable.
"I think that will continue, that's the beginning of a return to where the market was before it fell to quite a low and we'll see that confidence build."
He said there were more first home buyers active in the last 12 months and with the Australian economy cooling off, a number of returning Kiwis were also settling in the area.
"That generally adds pressure to rental markets and with rentals up, we see extra pressure on the housing market," he said.
Harcourts' Hamilton-based general manager Brian King said he has seen more first-time buyers this year and also pointed to investors returning to the market in the last six to eight months.
"That's helped to push the market through," he said.
"Hamilton is showing, businesswise, a little bit of life. People are coming back to the city to work and people are gaining the confidence to buy . . . and stock is building."
Median house prices are also on the upward trend, increasing 3.5 per cent year-on-year.
An average dwelling in the region went for $310,500 in September, up $5500 from August, while the median price for the same period last year was $300,000.
The median price for sections in the region in September was $155,653.
Nationally, 1128 dwellings were sold by auction in September, representing 20 per cent of overall monthly sales, and the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region accounted for 10.2 per cent of that national total.
Mr O'Rourke said more sellers are choosing to go to auction because of the possibility of making a little extra on the sale.
He said with recent sales, the only time sellers' estimate prices have not only been met but exceeded is with properties that have gone to auction.
"I think sellers understand there's some chance of upside - the number and quality of buyers can increase and there's enthusiasm there."
- © Fairfax NZ News