Buyer urgency back in Hamilton as heads clear after election daze

Demand for townhouses is still strong after a sluggish winter period.
TOM LEE/STUFF

Demand for townhouses is still strong after a sluggish winter period.

Hamilton's property market is waking up as buyers climb out of winter's daze.

But don't expect it to roar to life. Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said October's activity is a "marginal increase".

"The market was distracted by the election," O'Rourke said. "We had a whole lot of buyers actually sitting there on the sidelines with no urgency.

"As we rolled into October, all of a sudden we saw a lot of increase in that urgency and we saw buyers make decisions."

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The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's September figures, released on Thursday, show just 5428 houses were sold across the country - the lowest number in September in six years.

Sales volumes in Hamilton were down 17 per cent on the year at 254 but were on par with August figures. Hamilton's property prices held at $542,500. In August the median sale price was $546,500.

"There is huge confidence in the Waikato, particularly in the greater Hamilton area," REINZ regional director for Waikato Philip Searle said.

"There is still a lot of buyer interest from people looking to relocate from Auckland with about 35 per cent of buyers from out of town."

Sales in September were down 17 per cent on the previous year. The number of listings is also down 19 per cent on the year before.

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Some parts of the city are experiencing stronger sales than others, O'Rourke said.

There is competition for the family home and from first homes buyers but investors are sidelined, putting pressure on the rental market.

Townhouses and apartments are in demand, competition for homes in the Rototuna high school zone is strong and there is a surge of buyer activity above $800,000.

"The city seems to be growing strongly and developers are really confident. We've had some reasonably large sales to developers who are still looking for land," O'Rourke said.

Hamilton's population is growing and new in the mix is the Ruakura inland port's consent to expand another 48-hectares and Tainui Group Holdings announced on Thursday a 40-room expansion of the Novotel Tainui Hamilton hotel.

"All of these things are pointing to a real confidence in what is happening in Hamilton in business development, future jobs and opportunities and the biggest drawback is our our ability to actually house all of these people quickly enough."

Harcourts Hamilton general manager Brian King expects a busy period until mid-December.

"There are a lot of good buyers waiting for the right property. When they supply comes on, it's surprising, we're getting a lot of these multi-offers on them," King said.

"I don't expect to see the prices drop back at all. I think we are going to see a good surge in the next few months."

Lugton's Real Estate managing director Simon Lugton said September is traditionally buoyant but has been slow to start.

Normally, September starts to lift a little bit but spring has been a little bit later this year and, mainly, that has been down to the election deferring decision making."

 - Stuff

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