Lodge Real Estate’s managing director Jeremy O’Rourke says city living in Hamilton is set to transform as developers gobble up large city sections earmarked for in-fill housing.
“We have seen a huge surge in demand by developers looking for large sections in the city where they can develop in-fill housing, duplexes and apartments. Developer enquiries are much higher than we’ve ever seen.
And it’s not just big developers seeking out city sections. In some instances, the big developers are being priced out of the market by mom and pop investors who will pay much higher prices as they sacrifice a bit of margin to get the section they desire. This means over the coming 12 to 18 months, we will see the city landscape change somewhat as more of this in-fill housing is completed. This is a sign we are maturing as a city when there are more living options for our residents,” explains Mr O’Rourke.
He says Hamilton’s housing market had a late start as poor weather delayed people from listing houses after coming back from holiday. However, he said it’s too early to say definitively that the market has entered a sustained downward trend.
“The Hamilton market has experienced a later return to normal buying and selling activity. And that’s meant rather than seeing a lift in February to early March as we always do, that lift has been delayed.
It’s too early to say if we are truly experiencing a downward trend in the housing market here in Hamilton. After April numbers are in, then we’ll be able to much better predict where the market is at and where it’s heading for the remainder of the year,” he says.
With banks tightening lending even further and investors still absent from the market, Mr O’Rourke says Hamilton’s auction rooms have become unpredictable. “Auction clearance rates are down in Hamilton, which was to be expected as rates couldn’t continue at the frenetic levels agencies across the city experienced last year.
However, tightening bank lending criteria plus fewer investors vying for properties has created an unpredictable environment in the auction room. Some properties still command heavy competition with multiple bidders, while some quality properties get passed in.” “Banks’ tighter lending criteria is adding to this fickle auction environment, with many first home buyers entering negotiations once a property is passed in,” he says.
The Real Estate Institute of NZ released figures in mid March showing Hamilton’s median house price rose to $500,000 in February 2017 compared to $495,000 in January 2017 and $439,000 in February 2016. The number of homes sold in Hamilton during February 2017 were 262. This compares with 305 in February 2016.