Hamilton's 2016 housing hot spots not just in northern suburbs

The northern Hamilton suburb of Sylvester had the highest median house sale price in 2016 - $812,000.

Huntington was the most popular spot to buy a house in Hamilton last year.  But the action isn't only in the north-east with cheaper Swarbrick not far behind.

Data recently released from Hamilton City Council lays out residential property action in 2016, showing sales hot-spots and what buyers were paying to live there.

One area racked up a median sale price of just over $800,000, but for six of Hamilton's top ten selling areas it was under $500,000.  That mix is a plus for Hamilton, council's general manager of city growth Kelvyn Eglinton said - almost half the housing market is below the $460,000 mark.

"Whilst the new house price might
be increasing in value, Hamilton's a
real opportunity... because we have
got that spread of market to enable
people to buy up the ladder but also
to get in on the property ladder,"
Eglinton said.

The city's top-selling suburb was
Huntington, with 244 sold signs
slapped on in 2016 and a median
price of $707,000.

In the next popular Swarbrick, 199
houses were sold at a median price
of $357,000.

Sylvester, near Flagstaff, came in
third on sales volume - 165 - but had
the top median sale price of 
$812,000.

Higher prices in the northeast make 
sense, Eglinton said.

"Where all the new builds are,
where you see the higher prices, we
would expect that because that's
the growth cell that's open at the
moment, we've got infrastructure in
the ground and developers are
working on."

The next growth areas will be Rotokauri and Peacocke, he said, but opening up new spots isn't the only plan.  Just under 50 per cent of the city's growth is in infill housing, which is something council had been aiming for.

Some infill-heavy areas crop up in the top ten sellers for 2016 - Swarbrick, in the Frankton area, was second on the list with 199 new owners.  

Keys were also handed over 129 times in the university area.

There's not a one-size-fits-all reason for high sales numbers in Hamilton's suburbs, according to Lugton's Real Estate managing director Simon Lugton.  Strong demand in the northeast of the city - where houses tend to be bigger and newer - is expected to continue as houses are erected on new greenfields developments.

Closer to the city centre, in areas such as Swarbrick, higher-density and more affordable housing is springing up.  "There's a residential high zoning part of the city in between Dinsdale and Frankton," Lugton said.  "There have been a lot of houses that were on big sections that have been demolished and blocks of four or five apartments have been created in there."

Council's data shows Glenview was also a good seller, and Lugton said there has been some more building on the city fringes.

Investors deciding to sell property and cash up may also have contributed, as both rental and owner-occupied properties have been selling.

That said, the market has settled down from what was at times "feverish demand" in 2015 and 2016, he said.

The desirability of a location has a big impact on house price, QV valuer Stephen Hare said.

But the amount of housing available in an area also affects sales volumes.

"Typically, for Rototuna and Flagstaff, where you're seeing those newer subdivisions that have been opening up, you're seeing house and land packages and land sales through there," Hare said.

"With newly-established suburbs that are still developing and growing you do typically see quite high sales volumes."

In suburbs such as Glenview - also a high seller in 2016 - there's more of a mixture in terms of the age of the houses, he said.

Where are we buying in Hamilton?
The 10 areas with the most sales activity in the 2016 year were:
Name - number of sales - median price
1) Huntington - 244 - $707,000
2) Swarbrick - 199 - $357,000
3) Sylvester - 165 - $812,000
4) Glenview - 153 - $469,000
5) Flagstaff - 131 - $667,000
6) Maeroa - 130 - $440,750
7) University - 129 - $450,000
8) Bryant - 127 - $519,000
9) Nawton - 127 - $420,000
10) Enderley - 126 - $425,000

Highest median sale price
Sylvester - $812,000, 165 sales
Lowest median sale price
Swarbrick - $357,000, 199 sales

From Stuff.co.nz