Dannevirke people are still keen to take on home ownership, Rozanne Jensen of NZCU Baywide says.
"There are plenty of people enquiring about home loans and lots of positivity out in the community," she said. "People are keen to snap up good, solid homes selling in the $130,000 price bracket. In Hawke's Bay, they could be paying between $180,000 to $200,000 for that same home, so home ownership in Dannevirke is a realistic option."
Nigel Jackson, manager of the Dannevirke branch of Property Brokers, said there had been a lift in residential sales over May and June, with nine properties selling under $100,000, six between $100,000 and $200,000 and two close to $300,000.
"We're seeing more investors rather than first-time home buyers in the market, although there are still plenty of enquiries," he said.
However, Mr Jackson admitted residential sales in the $130,00 to $210,000 price range were "tough work".
"There's no panic for people to buy, they're just happy to wait and see what happens, especially with the Reserve Bank's LVR (high loan-to-value ratio) policy still in place," he said. " Lifting the LVR would make a difference to our market because under its 20 per cent deposit rules, buyers need a $30,000 deposit for a $150,000 home."
Those borrowing from NZCU Baywide, which is a credit union, not a bank, aren't subject to the 20 per cent deposit requirement. Mrs Jensen said KiwiSaver was now playing a big part in helping people buy their own home too.
"People are claiming back part of their contribution, because it's a good foot in the door," she said. "KiwiSaver is giving people leverage to afford their own home."
Mr Jackson agreed.
"We're seeing more and more people using KiwiSaver to help fund their deposits," he said.
And while the year-on-year residential sales to the end of June are 113, compared with 95 last year, a 17 to 18 per cent lift, which was encouraging Mr Jackson said, a lot of the sales are at the lower end of the market.
"We've more sales, but the median price has come back," he said. "Sellers have got to be prepared to meet the market. We've had occasions when a price has been agreed, then the building and electrical reports highlight a problem, perhaps a leaking roof and that's stopping the sale. Sellers are then put in a weaker position."
Property Brokers have two properties they are looking to auction, but there aren't the buyers. One, an empty house has been on the market since October, with an extremely motivated seller. Mr Jackson said: "It's in the mid-price range, at $150,000, with a government valuation of $185,000 and a good property. But other than giving it away, there's been no buyer. However, one property we took to tender has had an offer accepted."
And while residential sales are up, it appears to be at the expense of lifestyle block sales.
"The lifestyle block market has really suffered and sales are only just over half compared with last year," Mr Jackson said.
"But we're hanging in."
NZCU Baywide chief executive Gavin Earle told the Dannevirke News the most savvy of borrowers were now fixing their interest rates.
"Interest rates are only going one way, that's up and the only question is how quickly," he said.