Warm weather, hot house sales

By Joseph Aldridge

The Tauranga property market has seen its hottest January since 2007, with sales volumes up 23 per cent on last year and 74 per cent on January 2011, Reinz figures show.

A total of 115 properties sold in Tauranga (excluding the Mount and Papamoa) last month, compared to 93 in January 2012 and 66 in January 2011.

Harcourts Advantage managing director Simon Martin said the increase in sales was "positive and encouraging".

"From what we're seeing at the moment, all the economic indicators are positive for us, the people we're dealing with are enthusiastic and positive, it probably helps that there's been a really nice summer with nice warm weather and people have got a bit more positivity about them, and it's good that we're seeing in our marketplace an increase in activity as far as volume goes."

January's figures continued last year's upward trend, with total sales numbers in 2012 up 17 per cent on the year before.

Realty Services chief executive Ross Stanway said there was a big build-up of stock in Tauranga during the last months of 2012.

"We had good sales months in both of those months but the build-up of stock pretty much was responsible for a very good January sales month," he said.

"That's interesting because sometimes there can be a bit of a flat January because people are away, solicitors are away and so on, but in this instance there was a lot of momentum which just carried straight through."

Unlike sales numbers, the median price in Tauranga dropped from $360,000 to $320,000 between January 2012 and January this year, but this was largely attributable to the majority of sales being in the under $400,000 bracket, Neville Falconer, from LJ Hooker Tauranga, said.

"I tend to think that's because it's a median and we have seen a lot of activity in the lower to middle price bracket, so the bulk of the sales at that end of the scale have driven [the median] down a bit."

Mr Martin said sales in the Mount and Papamoa had not risen as much as Tauranga in January (15 per cent), however Harcourts agents had noticed an increase in activity so far this month.

"The figures don't show that yet but at the coal-face at the moment our Mount and Papamoa market has really picked up in the last two weeks."

Greg Purcell, of Ray White Mount Maunganui, agreed, saying the property market in the Mount and Papamoa had moved into "a different current from the one we've been in for four-and-a-half to five years". He said there were a good deal fewer properties for sale at the Mount at the moment and that may push prices up.

"Usually we've got more for sale than we do and we're in February, it's the Western Bay of Plenty, there's plenty of people who want to live here but there's not much choice for them at the moment, and if it continues like that I think it might translate to the market heating up a little bit."

Fifty-three properties sold in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa last month compared to 46 in January last year.

Median property values for January 2013

  • Western Bay of Plenty: $361,250, up 3.9 per cent from January 2012

  • Tauranga: $320,000, down 11 per cent from January 2012

  • Mount Maunganui/Papamoa: $387,500, down 0.3 per cent from January 2012

  • Waikato/BOP: $312,500, up 2.4 per cent from January 2012

  • Nationally: $370,000, up 4.2 from January 2012

- Bay of Plenty Times

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