Tauranga real estate agents have been rushed off their feet in the past few weeks, with some predicting a record month despite new data showing a slow recovery for the housing market after the Covid-19 lockdown.

Agents say the busy market has been fuelled by first-home buyer activity and plenty of multi-offers but demand was outstripping supply, with new listings proving hard to come by.

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The OneRoof-Valocity Covid-19 index measured the change in median property values since New Zealand went into lockdown on March 25.

The data showed Tauranga entered lockdown with a 6.5 per cent increase in median values.

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But since lockdown, the rate of value growth has stalled to a 1.2 per cent rise, bringing the median value to $705,000, up from $660,000 a year ago.

Valocity director of valuation and innovation James Wilson said in the year leading up to Covid-19 lockdown, property values in all Tauranga suburbs increased, with Matua, Bellevue, Tauranga South and Mount Maunganui rising more than 10 per cent.

But since lockdown, no suburb rose more than a 6 per cent and six suburbs had zero or declining value changes (Tauranga South, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga City, Pyes Pa, Judea, Bellevue).

Valocity director of valuation and innovation James Wilson. Photo / Supplied
Valocity director of valuation and innovation James Wilson. Photo / Supplied

"However, it is important to note that sales volumes in these areas have been low, making value trends somewhat volatile."

Wilson said first-home buyers continued to dominate new mortgage registrations, with their share of mortgage registrations increasing to nearly a third (32.2 per cent) of all registrations, while investors accounted for 17.9 per cent of new registrations.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said Tauranga's market may not be the top-performing suburbs in terms of value growth post lockdown but the market was still sustained.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan. Photo / File
OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan. Photo / File

Vaughan said Tauranga was in a strong position for recovery as its main drivers in value growth included location, stable employment and proximity to the Port of Tauranga.

"The months ahead for Tauranga don't look glum."

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General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones, said March would have been a record month if it wasn't for the lockdown.

General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones. Photo / File
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones. Photo / File

"Everything dried up over lockdown and April was very quiet. May was a bit busier and things started happening again."

He said July had been "really busy" which was "fantastic".

"We will have a record month this month," he said. "That is fuelled off a lot of buyers out there looking, including a lot of first-home buyers and investors."

There had also been plenty of multi-offers and many had been subject to selling their home beforehand, he said.

However, gaining finance from the banks remained a challenge in a post-Covid world but Jones remained optimistic about the future.

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"Some people have said October and November will be the telling point when the Government subsidies run out and some people were still without a job, but there are still plenty of jobs out there.

"I am optimistic at the moment but nobody has a crystal ball."

Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin. Photo / File
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin. Photo / File

Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said sales volumes for June were "well up" on last year and the same trend was happening in July.

"We have good, solid demand in the marketplace at the moment," he said.

"Going forward, it is tracking very similar to previous years. It feels like the market is back to normal."

Martin said there was some good property coming to the market but listings had dropped slightly in the past 10 days.

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"There has been a lot more interest from first-home buyers. Some I've spoken to have brought their buying decisions forward because they have saved money, they're not going on holiday and interest rates have dropped."

Martin said New Zealanders were also returning home and were looking to buy or rent.

He had heard of some expats returning home and finding a job, a rental and furniture and "setting up their life" all while in isolation.

"They need to have a job and they need to live somewhere. Those sorts of things are going to have an impact and increase the demand."

First National Real Estate Tauranga general manager Cameron Hooper. Photo / File
First National Real Estate Tauranga general manager Cameron Hooper. Photo / File

First National Real Estate Tauranga general manager Cameron Hooper said buyers were not interested in paying way over the odds as they did in 2016.

But he said people were still happy to make offers at a fair market price knowing there was competition.

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Hooper said the current market was becoming the new normal.

"Right now we are outselling our supply and selling more than we are listing. Multi-offers are common and strong viewing numbers are high with purchasers keen to engage in the offer process."

He said vendors had been in control and people who can access finance have done well.

"Results for vendors have been above in most cases what we have been able to predict."

Chief executive officer of Bayleys and Eves Realty Bay of Plenty, Heath Young. Photo / File
Chief executive officer of Bayleys and Eves Realty Bay of Plenty, Heath Young. Photo / File

Chief executive officer of Bayleys and Eves Realty Bay of Plenty, Heath Young, said the enforced lockdown essentially suspended the property market.

"When it became apparent that we had beaten the virus and were returning to alert level 1 far quicker than thought, the pent up demand for property along with buyers' confidence meant property transactions have recovered a lot quicker than thought," he said.

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Young said demand for property in the Bay was largely unaffected by the international border being closed and there were still many people moving from Auckland and elsewhere and returning from overseas.

Despite a positive trend, Young said it was difficult to look ahead.

"There is a sense of false economy operating at present in terms of wage subsidies, mortgage holidays and this surge that has been created through the suspending of the property market through lockdown."

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Headline: Tauranga suburbs ranked by 12-month value change

Tauriko
Latest median value: $1,360,000
12-month change (%): 11.48%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $2,150,000
Change since March 25 (%): 1.20%

Tauranga South
Latest median value: $635,000
12-month change (%): 9.48%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $1,267,000
Change since March 25 (%): -7.90%

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Hairini
Latest median value: $570,000
12-month change (%): 8.57%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $770,000
Change since March 25 (%): 5.10%

Bellevue
Latest median value: $580,000
12-month change (%): 8.41%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $900,000
Change since March 25 (%): -0.30%

Gate Pā
Latest median value: $520,000
12-month change (%): 8.33%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $656,000
Change since March 25 (%): 3.60%

Greerton
Latest median value: $560,000
12-month change (%): 7.69%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $820,000
Change since March 25 (%): 1.60%

Parkvale
Latest median value: $500,000
12-month change (%): 7.53%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $630,000
Change since March 25 (%): 0.30%

Poike
Latest median value: $500,000
12-month change (%): 7.53%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $850,000
Change since March 25 (%): 1.20%

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Brookfield
Latest median value: $595,000
12-month change (%): 7.21%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $825,000
Change since March 25 (%): 0.10%

Matua
Latest median value: $770,000
12-month change (%): 6.94%
Highest settled sale since start of 2020: $2,470,000
Change since March 25 (%): 1.20%

Source: OneRoof/Valocity