Most of the sales team returned from holiday in early January to strong enquiry across all property segments. Figures released from realestate.co.nz substantiate this as unique browsers for real estate during January 2011 jumped 22% over the same period a year earlier. This increase is consistent with activity on the lodge.co.nz website. However, despite the improved activity sales have been markedly slower than last year.
Although there is a more cautious approach to buying much of the apathy can be attributed to a late return from holiday for many buyers rather than a systemic weakness in the market. Already, as families settle children back into school routines, a greater level of sales is being experienced within the market.
Many people have recognised that whilst the residential and lifestyle markets have been in the doldrums for the past three years the fundamentals have improved. According to the Roost Home Loan Affordability Index, Hamilton’s affordability has returned to the same level as that of 2005. This gives a far greater number of buyers the opportunity to enter the market.
Many buyers suspect prices will improve from current levels and with good reason. The primary argument being that Hamilton’s population continues to expand at a time when building consents are below par and this indicates a looming property shortage within the city. Typically this excess in demand over supply equation puts upward pressure on prices. As a consequence investors are active within the market sensing a pay off from the mismatch.
Sales volumes are expected to rise throughout 2011 after 2010 volumes fell to their lowest levels since the REINZ started keeping records in 1992. A surge of properties onto the market gives buyers terrific choice and emphasises the recognition of Hamiltonians that now is a great time to trade up.