Hamilton house prices are slowly clawing their way up but are still well behind the booming markets seen in Auckland and Christchurch and well below their 2007 market peak.
A July Quotable Value report shows the average house price in Hamilton had risen 2.9 per cent over the past 12 months to $344,945.
This is behind the nationwide average increase of 4.2 per cent and rises seen in Auckland (6.8 per cent) and Christchurch (5.8 per cent) for the same period.
House values in Hamilton remain at 9.5 per cent below the 2007 market peak and QV senior residential valuer Paul Smith said it was unlikely there would be big changes to the local market this year.
"Hamilton is not a volatile market in general so we don't see the big ups and downs like in Auckland ..." he said.
Mr Smith said sales volumes were good this year and properties were selling quickly, often with multiple offers.
"But those numbers are only good when you compare them to how bad it has been in the past few years."
He said he was not expecting to see a huge amount of growth in most sectors of the local housing market as many potential buyers were still worried about events in Europe and the ongoing recession.
"Things have improved this year but I think people are still worried about the general world economy and things like all these jobs going at the railways and all the little centres around Hamilton are really struggling - it can take more than a year to get a sale in some of these places."
Corinna Mansel, general manager of Ray White Mill St, Hamilton, said house prices had not increased markedly but inquiry levels and the number of sales had risen while the days taken for homes to sell had fallen.
Hamilton traditionally tended to be "about six months behind Auckland" in terms of real estate activity and sales, but Ms Mansel said there were motivated vendors and definite buyers.
"There is a little bit of confidence out there but not so much in demand creeping up in price although we are seeing more multiple offers and auctions selling very well under the hammer."
Lodge Real Estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said house sales were up 25 per cent for the first six months of the year and according to his figures the median house price in Hamilton spiked 4.5 per cent in June.
He said this was driven partly by a lack of properties for first-home buyers and investors wanting houses in the $250,000 to $275,000 price bracket.
"If there are not as many sold in a lower price category ... it pushes the median price up," he said.
"That was evident in the jump in the median which went to 350-odd thousand but we expect that will right itself."
Mr O'Rourke said the number of properties new to the market had dropped 32 per cent between May and June which was "possibly more significant than in previous years" but not unusual for the middle of winter.
Suburbs like Rototuna, Norton and Hillcrest, because of zoning for certain schools, were now in demand.
"It's certainly far from a booming market but it's nice to see we have a sustained recovery. We are getting consistent growth in each month ... but there's been no great increase in prices in the general market."
Average house sale price last 3 months:
Hamilton North East: $424,091
Central City/North West: $311,934
Hamilton South East: $318,892
Hamilton South West: $297,727
Figures: Quotable Value.