Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Confidence returning to Waikato house market

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A big jump in requests for Land Information Memorandum reports signals renewed confidence in the property market - with Waikato district processing 60 per cent more this year than last.

In the past year Hamilton City Council, Waipa District Council and Waikato District Council have seen a large rise in the number of people wanting Land Information Memorandum (Lim) reports.

Waikato district reported a 62.7 per cent rise in 2011/12 while Waipa reported a 55.8 per cent increase and Hamilton City Council saw a 29.1 per cent rise.

Waikato District Council regulatory general manager Nath Pritchard said the rise indicated people were buying in the district rather than renovating or building new homes as the number of building consents had dropped 11.2 per cent in the past year.

He put the increase down to newcomers moving to the district, including people leaving quake-hit Christchurch, and a stronger focus on buying existing houses.

"What we are seeing at the council suggests people are choosing to buy or invest in existing homes and fewer people are building new."

Waipa District Council followed a trend similar to Waikato district and business development facilitator Peter Carr said feedback from the real estate industry was the number of Lims being sought related directly to the number of houses being sold.

There was also an increasing emphasis from property lawyers wanting clients to provide Lims, he said. Waipa had also recorded a slump in building consents issued in 2011/12 compared to the previous year.

Hamilton City Council building compliance manager Phil Saunders said not only had there been a 29.1 per cent increase for Lim requests in the previous year but more and more people were fast-tracking their requests to receive reports within three days rather than the statutory 10-day deadline.

"Right now it is very challenging to find a good quality house in Hamilton where we see purchasers competing with each other and driving up house prices," he said.

However, the smaller increase in Lim requests was offset by a 10.2 per cent rise in building consents.

Lodge Real Estate general manager Jeremy O'Rourke warned that house prices could rise if there continued to be a shortage of good quality new properties coming on to the market. Feedback from agents was that buyers were coming up against competition for houses on almost a daily basis.

In Hamilton there was just under four months' worth of stock and it was expected to continue to drop.

"We will start to see price increases when we get to three months' stock."

House sales were particularly strong in Rototuna, Hillcrest and Nawton.

- NZ Herald

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