February 14, 2022

Number of homes for sale doubles in Hamilton but rental properties are scarce

The number of homes for sale in Hamilton has nearly doubled compared to the same time last year but the number of rental properties available in the city is at an extreme low says real estate agency Lodge.

Lodge Real Estate Managing Director, Jeremy O’Rourke, says the number of residential properties currently for sale in Hamilton sat at 780 at the end of January, which was a vast improvement on the 410 available on the market at the same time last year.

Lodge City Rentals, Hamilton’s largest property management company by volume, however, has just 75 properties on their books currently, and 55 of those are small studios considered most suitable for students. That leaves only around 20 rentals suitable for families.

“It’s harder than ever for Hamilton renters. Families especially are really struggling to get into homes in the city, with the number of quality rental listings well down,” says Jeremy.

However, for those people putting their homes on the market for sale, most were looking to buy elsewhere in the city. “There’s potential for a few of these homes to enter the rental pool, as investors continue to see value and demand in the Hamilton market. But there is no quick solution to our rental shortage in the city.”

Jeremy points to a shifting market, overall, where buyers can be more discerning because they have more choice as listings increase. However, buyers also face rising interest rates and controls on bank lending under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, which was making everyone more cautious, he says.

“Finance is really hard to get right now, and it takes longer to be approved so that’s also starting to impact on conditional sale periods which are being pushed out and extended while buyer finance is approved,” says Jeremy.

He says in some cases houses were taking up to one month longer to settle than they normally would as people navigate these new financial challenges.

The Hamilton market still represents good value, with the median house price reported by the Real Estate Institute of NZ for December was sitting at $870,000 which is still below the national median of $905,000.

People are also still moving to the city and the completion of infrastructure like the Waikato Expressway later this year would drive further development and interest in the Waikato region.

“Our farming sector is strong and there are businesses with global growth prospects relocating to Hamilton as our infrastructure improves, so we don’t see the city’s housing market going backwards anytime soon, but we certainly don’t expect to be seeing the freakish growth that we had last year,” says Jeremy.

Developments in the northwest of the city, at Temple View, and north of the city, at Horotiu, were also attracting new buyers.

While January is always a quieter month for house sales, this January’s sales figures were especially low. This was expected as people took a longer break after contending with COVID-19 throughout 2021, Jeremy says.

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