The sun is shining, little lambs are being born and flowers are starting to bloom. It's signs that spring is well and truly here, which means summer must be just around the corner. The spring time also means the sun is shining on the property market. Prospective buyers have woken from their winter slumber and people have more of a spring in their step. Houses, particularly in the Bay of Plenty, look much better on the market during this time of year. Property Reporter Zoe Hunter talks to real estate agents about what to expect in the coming months.
Tauranga's property market might be "business as usual" for now, but real estate agents are expecting things to pick up further into spring.
Figures from OneRoof and its data partner Valocity show Tauranga's median house price had barely moved in the last year, jumping just 1.6 per cent to $650,000.
The city's hottest suburbs for price growth were still Tauranga South (up 13.4 per cent), Brookfield (up 13 per cent) and Maungatapu (up 11.9 per cent).
First home buyers were still dominating the market reflecting 26.5 per cent of mortgage registrations.
James Wilson, Valocity director of valuation and innovation, said while the wider Tauranga property market remained buoyant, value growth was "relatively subdued".
"Anecdotally, we are beginning to see signs of increased activity as we move into the warmer months, with agents reporting strong interest levels during sales campaigns," he said.
Wilson said sales of properties above $1 million had stalled, with the majority of transactions happening between the $750,000 and $1m price bracket (29.2 per cent).
Looking ahead, Tauranga real estate agents were bracing themselves for a busy few months.
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin summarised the market as stable.
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"It's not boom or bust," he said. "It's business as normal."
However, Martin said the market traditionally started to pick up from now on.
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"We are starting to see a bit more listings and activity out there," he said. "This market place always does look really good when it is summer."
Hayden Duncan, chief executive of Tremains Group, which includes Colliers International and Sotheby's, said it was no surprise Tauranga's market had remained consistent.
"The reason for that is it is a wonderful place to live, with population growth," he said.
"Supply was growing at the rate it needs to in order to accommodate the population."
Duncan said low interest rates were driving the first home buyer market and investors were making a comeback.
There was an expectation there would be an increase in buyer activity during the next six to eight weeks heading into summer.
"The number of listings and open homes are increasing which is an indicator of what's to come," he said.
"There has never been a better time to buy."
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, expected a reasonably strong spring, particularly for first home buyers looking to upgrade.
"There has been a bit of hesitation for buyers to act because there has been no pressure on them," he said.
"But with the buyer interest we have at the moment that middle market will see an increase."
Anderson said a strong first home buyer market meant it was not surprising the more affordable suburbs such as Tauranga South, Bellevue and Maungatapu were proving popular.
Tauranga's hot suburbs
Tauranga South 13.4%
Gate Pā 9.2%
Welcome Bay 5.6%
Mount Maunganui 3.6%