The median house price in Masterton rose by 12 per cent in August. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
JAKE BELESKI and CHELSEA BOYLE
One month was all it took for the median house price in Masterton to rise by 12 per cent, but the same could not be said for Carterton or South Wairarapa.
Statistics from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed the median price for Masterton in July was $268,000, but that figure rose to $300,000 in August.
Carterton’s median price dropped from $390,000 in July, to $370,000 in August.
South Wairarapa saw a decrease of 12 per cent to their median price over the same period, dropping from $365,000 to $320,000.
However, all three regions are still enjoying considerably higher median house prices than those recorded in August 2016.
Property Brokers Wairarapa regional manager, Guy Mordaunt, said it was understandable for Masterton to be recording an increase in the median price while Carterton and South Wairarapa were showing the opposite.
“If you look at the figures, the South Wairarapa figures are a lot more volatile.
“I think the median house price in April for Greytown was about $630,000, which was ridiculous and not an indication of what it really was.”
There were fewer sales each month in South Wairarapa and Carterton, meaning it only took one sale at either end of the spectrum to change things significantly, he said.
A bigger market and more consistent figures in Masterton meant those statistics provided a fairer representation of the housing situation.
Volume of sales and affordability were two of the keys to Masterton’s median price going up, he said.
“Masterton is actually one of the more affordable places when you compare it to Martinborough, Greytown or Carterton.
“We won’t know until we get census figures, but I think we’ve had huge population growth as well, and the new residents are always going to put prices up.”
Ray White Leaders real estate agent Mark Childs said after a “frenzy in April and May”, the numbers had once again picked up.
“We’ve had another surge of activity in August which is very encouraging leading into spring,” he said.
“Especially since the number of listings had been at very low levels compared to historical numbers.”
There had been a shortage of choice for buyers throughout winter, but strong sales won out in August, he said.
“Leading into September now, we are seeing quite an influx of new listings . . . that’ll be encouraging for everyone really.”
Mr Childs said some vendors would hold off until summer to show off the gardens.
“We should see an increased number of listings.”
The activity was happening across all price brackets, he said.
“Obviously there are more houses in Masterton that are up to $350,000 than over, but in saying that buyers are across all price brackets.”
The new builds sector was thriving, he said.
“What’s happened now is the market has caught up to what the cost of build is so that’s encouraged more people to buy sections and build rather than just look for something existing.”
The lending policies were favourable at the moment with some banks lending up to 90 per cent of the purchase price, he said.
“This whole thing about needing a 20 per cent deposit is a bit of a myth really.”
Harcourts real estate agent, Bevan Saywell, said it was Masterton’s turn to enjoy an upward trend with its housing prices.
“It’s taken the best part of 10 years to pick up, and people are starting to see value in our area.
“Our main market would be the Wellington market, and we’re finding we’re selling a lot to people who are still commuting, and it’s just a better lifestyle for them over here.”
One of the key factors to the median figure rising in Masterton in recent weeks was timing, he said.
“I think there was less on the market, probably about 17 per cent down on what it was the previous month.
“Less listings means more competition, which helps the price go up.”
Concern for renters
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the increase in the median house price was great for home owners, but there was still major concern for renters in the region.
“There is a big concern over the lack of rentals, and lack of social housing availability.
“Our prices did drop a number of years ago, so it’s good for home owners and the equity they have in their homes that the prices are now creeping up a bit.”
The critical rental shortage had happened long before the values of houses went up, she said.
“It’s an issue that’s been around for a while and it’s really concerning given we know there has been a drop in home ownership across New Zealand, which affects our region as well.
“When you get a drop in home ownership you’re going to require more rentals, and we just don’t have sufficient houses to meet that market at the moment.”
The issue was being felt throughout the country, and was not unique to Masterton, she said.
A housing task group made up of people from Trust House, Masterton District Council and other areas were working to address the issues around emergency and social housing.
“They’re working on what we need to do there to get the houses we need to be able to house people in warm, dry and affordable homes.”