Waikato's housing market continues to boom thanks to Auckland commuters, with house values increasing rapidly.
Demand for Waikato properties continues to outstrip supply, pushing values up.
Home values across Hamilton were rising fast - up 4.6 per cent over the three months to February and 22 per cent on a year ago, QV figures show.
The average value in the city was $455,966.
Values in the Waikato district were also accelerating - rising a whopping 8.4 per cent over the past three months and 22.8 per cent for the year.
QV Hamilton valuer Stephen Hare said there had been strong activity particularly from investors and first home buyers.
While growth rates in the market were not as high as they were last year, the market is continuing to rise as demand continues to outstrip supply, he said.
There was a shortage of rentals up for grabs, particularly with students returning for university and newcomers to the city starting new jobs.
"In the Eastern suburbs of Hamilton, which is close to the university and a popular area for student accommodation, it is particularly difficult to find rental properties."
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker says the council
is working to maintain a balanced supply of housing
as residential building consents continue to rise.
There continues to be strong demand from out-of-town investors for rental properties in other Waikato areas which is leading to value rises continuing in the Waikato District towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Kauwhata and Huntly East and West, Hare said.
"Tuakau and Pokeno values are also continuing to rise driven by demand from Aucklanders who are looking for more affordable properties in close enough proximity to commute."
QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said regional areas within commuting distance to Auckland were still benefiting from buyers looking for more affordable housing or rental property and values are up more than 5 per cent in the Kaipara, Waikato and Hauraki Districts over the past three months.
Lodge real estate managing director Jeremy O'Rourke said there was strong buyer activity in the region but it was a matter of finding available stock.
"I think there's some good immigration to the city at the moment."
He said they were starting to see the activity from the bottom of the market flow through with more interest in the top levels.
Hamilton buyers were beginning to trade up with a spike in sales from the higher end of the market, he said.
Lugton's Real Estate managing director Simon Lugton said competition had been steep and about 20 per cent of properties up for auction had been selling prior to going under the hammer.
A Hamilton property sold for more than $100,000 above what was expected in a recent auction, Lugton said.
Mayor Julie Hardaker said the council was working to ensure there continued to balance supply and demand as the number of residential building consents continues to rise.
Hamilton continued on an upward swing, with building consents for new homes in January up 41 per cent on the same time last year, according to figures from Hamilton City Council.
There were 52 new residential dwellings consented in January compared with 37 in January 2015 and 28 in January the year before.
The total number of building consents in January also exceeded previous years, with 99 consents issued worth a total of $37 million, an increase of more than $22m from 2015.
The 2016/17 draft budget approved by the Council last week brought forward funding for investment in infrastructure in response to the city's growth.
"People want to live and work in Hamilton and our focus is on working hard to ensure we have a city that offers a variety of housing options, has a high level of amenity and a growing economic base."
KELSEY WILKIE - Stuff
Image: LIZ MCDONALD/FAIRFAX NZ - Average house values in Hamilton have reached $455,966 according to QV.