Feel good factor in housing market

By Kiri Gillespie

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The real estate market in the Western Bay of Plenty has survived winter in good condition, offering significant optimism for the industry in coming months.

Latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures show 111 houses were sold in Tauranga in August, matching the number of houses sold in July. In August 2011, 110 homes sold.

In Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, 75 houses were sold in August this year and 73 in July. Eighty houses were sold in August last year.

The median price of houses sold in Tauranga in August was $330,000, with $359,500 in July this year and $356,500 in August 2011.

However, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa experienced a slight gain, with a median price of $390,000 in August compared to $389,000 in July and $387,500 in August 2011.

Simon Martin, managing director for Harcourts Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, said the company had noticed a lot more positivity in the market.

"People have gotten to the point of, 'Bugger it, let's just get on with it'," he told the Bay of Plenty Times. "Prices are down on what they had been and buyers have confidence. The other thing is banks have eased up on lending and enabling people into houses that they might not have been able to afford six to nine months ago."

Greg Purcell, franchise owner of Ray White Realty in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, said he felt people had shaken off the doubt the global recession brought with it five to six years ago.

"The banks had painted an apocalyptic meltdown but as time went on we are quite lucky because of the infrastructure going on locally," he said. "I think they are just distancing themselves from it. Time is a great healer."

Mr Purcell said he believed the local market was "pretty stable".

"I used to be quietly optimistic but now I'm vocally optimistic. I think we are doing just fine, to be honest."

His optimism was echoed by Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Bayleys and Eves, who said the figures were a "good sign".

"The key thing is they are just happening at a rate which is sustainable and sensible, which is good for everybody," Mr Stanway said.

"It indicates a degree of confidence in the market by both buyers and sellers.

"I believe now we have come through winter in good shape. That, during a period of year which traditionally people tend to think 'winter, let's hibernate'. But that hasn't happened.

"I think it bodes well for the months ahead," Mr Stanway said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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