First home buyers have been especially busy in Hamilton at the start of 2018, according to Lugton’s Real Estate director Simon Lugton.
He sees this as a principal reason why the city’s median house price dropped from $565,000 in December to $500,000 in January according to the the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand’s latest data. The data shows 156 homes were sold in Hamilton in January compared with 141 sold in January 2017.
“We are noticing a lot of first home buying activity involving houses in the $350,000 to $500,000 price range,” says Simon.
He believes many investors are offloading houses as they anticipate less favourable policies from the new Labour-led Government.
“It has created a good landscape for first home buyers.”
Ray White agent Mark Keesom agrees.
“We’ve seen some really good encouraging signs since Christmas and first home buyers have definitely increased in numbers rapidly.
“We’ve also seen a resurgence of investment buyers from Auckland and abroad. On the whole things are looking really really good.”
Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O’Rourke says Hamilton house sales were strong in January and up on last year.
“Plus, we’ve also had a good number of quality homes being listed on the market during the month. Strong buyer inquiry has also continued into February.
“While some other city centres are seeing a lull in the market, Hamilton remains relatively buoyant. There’s a lot of confidence in the city’s economy, buyers are seeing value in residential property and there continues to be strong inquiry from people outside the region who are attracted to Hamilton’s lifestyle,” says Jeremy.
“While our market gains have historically lagged behind Auckland and Tauranga, currently buyers have more confidence in Hamilton as compared with those two competitive markets.”
Harcourts managing director Brian King says the year got off to a slow start but Harcourts is “flat out” at the moment.
“I think people were slow to come back from the beach because the weather was so good. But then the last 10 days of January and now February it has just gone nuts.”
Brian said there is a lack of stock out there and they are getting multi offers on properties each day.
He says he is still surprised by the number of buyers from out of town. They tend now to be less investors and more people moving to Hamilton for jobs.
“It’s an absolute eye opener and it just indicates to me that the business sector in Hamilton must be very strong.”
Brian says he is also seeing many Hamilton people upgrade to more expensive properties as they take advantage of good mortgage rates.
“The absolute heat that was in the market a while ago is gone but there’s more choice for people here. They are no longer getting outbid all the time by people from the other side of the Bombays.”
Jeremy says Hamilton’s rental market continues to be very tight and unlikely to change this year.
“Our property management group has less than a 1 percent vacant rate in rental properties and will only have 140 properties turning over in the next 40 days. I wouldn’t say Hamilton’s rental market has entered a dire situation, but it is incredibly tough to find a quality rental.
“It’s not so much students – a big rental group in the city – who will be affected by this squeeze, but rather families looking for three to four-bedroom homes.”