Property sales boom in Bay

By Amy McGillivray, Brendan Manning

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The number of properties sold in the Western Bay surged last month, with the market experiencing one of its busiest Aprils on record.

New figures show 136 properties sold in Tauranga in April, down from 163 in March but up from 97 in April 2012.

In Mount Maunganui/Papamoa, 95 properties sold last month, down from 123 in March but up from 73 year-on-year.

Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said the figures showed there was increasing confidence in the market.

"The Mount market is probably moving a bit ahead of the Tauranga market, which traditionally it has.

"I have no doubt that will flow into Tauranga."

Houses prices were not increasing but higher-end properties were beginning to sell, he said.

"We're noticing there is more action in the marketplace. There's more people attending open homes. It is showing that the market is heading in the right direction."

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data also showed the median sale price in Mount Maunganui/Papamoa shot from $380,000 in April 2012 to $440,000 last month.

But Tauranga's median price declined more than $15,000 in the same period.

LJ Hooker Tauranga co-owner Stephen Pepper said March, April and May tended to be the biggest selling months, due to an upsurge of people getting back into the housing market after Christmas.

"We tend to have a lot of people who make decisions in the January, February time, but by the time that the agreements go unconditional we quite often see them slide into March and April."

Sales numbers would "plateau" over coming months with a limited amount of new stock becoming available, Mr Pepper said.

The hot property market meant one family had to move quickly to get hold of their dream home in Welcome Bay.

Katrina Bieleski, her partner and their two children, moved to Tauranga from Hamilton in November and spent the next few months hunting for a house.

The family were looking for a step up from their first house, so decided to hold out for something special, but found they had to move fast when they found what they wanted.

"You could tell when a good one came on at a good price because it got snapped up really quickly," she said.

"We'd find something and we'd ring up as soon as it came on Trade Me, and they already had three people who had rung up wanting to go around and see it that night."

In April, the couple eventually found a three-bedroom, two-lounge, brick and tile house in Welcome Bay that ticked all the boxes.

"We think it's quite special. It just pays to hang out and not compromise."

The number of Western Bay first home buyers entering the market was the highest in four to five years, due in part to uncertainty about the property market, Mr Pepper said.



$440,000 - median sale price in Mount Maunganui/Papamoa in April, up from $425,000 in March and $380,000 in April 2012.

$327,500 - median sale price in Tauranga in April, down from $347,000 in March and $343,000 in April 2012.

$396,062 - average Western Bay of Plenty property value, up 3 per cent year-on-year, but down 13 per cent on 2007 market peak.

$428,908 - average Tauranga property value, up 0.8 per cent year-on-year, but down 10.7 per cent on 2007 market peak.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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