House sales in Rotorua have hit a 5-year high as investors look to snap up a bargain.
In a special report last Saturday, The Daily Post reported local agents were feeling upbeat after experiencing what one called a "boomer" month in November.
The REINZ figures released this week showed why, with 97 residential properties sold in Rotorua in November, the most in a single month since November 2007. It's a 32.8 per cent increase from October 2012 and a 64.4 per cent increase on November last year. Nationally, sales were up 24.1 per cent on November last year.
Rotorua REINZ spokesman Ian McDowell, of McDowell Professionals, said the market had been steadily improving in recent months.
"People are more confident and things are happening," he said. "November is usually quite a good month, but the trend is December is traditionally pretty bad."
Despite that trend, he said the month had been pretty good so far, although he was expecting that to taper off as it got closer to Christmas.
Homes sold more quickly too - taking a median 36 days to sell in November compared with 47 in October and a 2012 high of 68.
"There's quite a demand for homes in that $300,000 to $400,00 bracket so they are selling quite quickly," Mr McDowell said.
Although the national median house price rose to a record $383,250, Rotorua's median sale price dropped to $217,000, the lowest since October 2011.
Mr McDowell said that was because 44 houses sold for less than $200,000 and another 25 went for between $200,000 and $300,000.
"Some of the cheaper ones that had been on the market awhile investors are seeing as good value and are now buying," he said. "Investors are very cagey and try to get a good bargain."
At the other end of the scale, a lakeside property sold for $1.45 million while in town, a Lynmore home went for $755,000.
After seven months on the market, Alf Stanley's home in Brunswick Park was sold for $670,000.
Mr Stanley said he first put the four bedroom, two bathroom house with lake views up for sale on Trade Me in April before giving it to five agents as a general listing.
He said McDowell Professionals' agent Fiona Jones had "worked her butt off" to sell his property, despite a number of issues cropping up along the way.
Mr Stanley said the home was his "dream home" but was too nice and too big for him to live in alone.
He was pleased to have finally sold the house he spent 13 years building to the "right people" - a family returning from Auckland.
It was a busy month for Mr Stanley, not only did he sell his home but he bought a new one - downgrading from just under a hectare to a city pad. He said it had been difficult to find the right place, but Ms Jones had come through for him and he was looking forward to moving in next month.
Mr McDowell said he was optimistic the market would continue to improve in 2013.
"Listings are still coming in which is good, people are deciding to make a move," he said. "If they paid $400,000 for a property that's only worth $350,000 now they might have been sitting back but now the odd one is selling for quite a lot more than we thought ... prices are starting to move.
Auctions accounted for 20.7 per cent of all sales nationwide, a new record. Most of these were in Auckland, but 158 of the 1539 were in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato region, reflecting the growing trend towards this method of sale.
November QV figures also released this week showed houses in Rotorua had an average value of $272,774, up 1.4 per cent from November 2011. This is the average value of all developed residential properties in the city, as opposed to REINZ figures which just measure those that have sold.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Median sale price: $217,000
Number of sales: 97
Days to sell: 36
Total sales value: $26,034,651
Median sale price: $240,000
Number of sales: 73
Days to sell: 47
Total sales value: $19,507,025
Median sale price: $232,500
Number of sales: 59
Days to sell: 45
Total sales value: $15,004,900