Strong property market lifts Waikato mood
Confidence in Hamilton's commercial property market is on the up and up, with ongoing investment in the city pushing the sector's players into optimistic territory.
The latest data from Colliers' quarterly commercial property investor confidence survey shows Hamilton achieved net positive 25 per cent confidence for the three months to September, after recording just 4 per cent at the same time last year.
The Hamilton figures have been on the increase for the last four quarters, with September confidence 2 per cent up on the June period.
The three-monthly survey asked 3651 commercial property market participants around the country about their outlook for commercial property investment over the next 12 months.
The confidence percentage is calculated by taking the proportion of property investors who think things will get better and subtracting the number who believe it will get worse.
Colliers' Hamilton office valuation director Matt Snelgrove said hopefully Hamilton's positivity will continue to grow.
"The confidence has been increasing for a while. It's hard to know when it will stop and plateau," he said.
"The signs are good so there is no reason Hamilton shouldn't continue on a positive confidence trend.
"There's been the Christchurch and Wellington earthquakes, which have led to companies reassessing their position in the New Zealand market and I think Hamilton's sort of featured as a real option for some of those companies."
He believed the city needed to promote itself more as a low risk location accessible to nearby cities.
Confidence was also growing because of big builds like the $20 million PricewaterhouseCooper Centre, the $30m Project Grantham, and their respective successes in scoring major tenants, indicating confidence in the city among large office occupiers.
He pointed to an increase in office refurbishment activity, a reaction to the tightening supply of A-grade through C-grade office accommodation in the CBD
He believed there were still pressures on retailers in the central city, but said businesses were generally feeling good and the property market had strengthened.
The national confidence average for the quarter was a net positive 25 per cent, down 1 per cent from the last quarter.
Auckland commercial property investors were the most positive for the first time since December 2011, pipping Christchurch as the most optimistic Kiwi city.
Christchurch had held the top spot for nearly two years, due in large part to the earthquake rebuild efforts.
Snelgrove said a thriving Auckland industry will have benefits to the Waikato. "When Auckland's moving ahead, it does have a positive influence on other markets as well, so we're kind of throwing in on its coat tails."
Auckland had a 56 per cent positivity rating for the three months to September, Christchurch sat on 51 per cent, Queenstown followed on 47 per cent and Tauranga-Mt Maunganui beat out Hamilton on 40 per cent. Palmerston North remained the most pessimistic city in New Zealand at negative 14 per cent while Wellington investor confidence fell to negative 10 per cent due to ongoing concerns around earthquake strengthening.
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