Aucklanders account for more than a quarter of Bay of Plenty property views on Trade Me and about half of one real estate company's sales.
The latest data from Trade Me's Bay of Plenty property views showed 29 per cent of hits between January and November last year came from Aucklanders.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data also revealed a 68 per cent increase in sales volumes in the Western Bay of Plenty over the same time frame.
It's either Aucklanders buying their own home to live in or purchasing an investment property to get a stake in the market.
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said 50 per cent of the firm's sales had been to Aucklanders, with strong interest in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Rotorua.
"That has been very noticeable. It's either Aucklanders buying their own home to live in or purchasing an investment property to get a stake in the market."
Auckland had an average house price of $900,000 and when you coupled that with traffic congestion problems "a lot of people have basically just had enough and they see our region, quite rightly, as a hugely positive option", he said.
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said Aucklanders were a predominant feature but the agency was also fielding inquiries from Australia, the UK and around New Zealand.
The company had been "flat-out" and December was a huge month, "which doesn't seem to be slowing down", he said.
Prior to Christmas, Venture Developments director Mark Fraser said more than 150 house and land packages had sold in Tauranga last year. Sales figures were up 50 per cent on 2014 and "the last six months have been very robust".
Many of its clients were from Auckland and "interestingly the vast majority are owner-occupiers and not investors".
Head of Trade Me Property, Nigel Jeffries, said the "Auckland effect" wasn't entirely new but had "rapidly accelerated" in 2015.
"In the last year we've seen average asking prices in the Bay of Plenty climb by $4000 per month and a jump of 28 per cent over the last five years.
"It's the same scenario in the rental market where the median rents have climbed $50 a week. The region is going gangbusters," he said.
REINZ chief executive Colleen Milne said Tauranga, Hamilton and Northland appeared to to benefiting the most from the "halo effect" caused by LVR restrictions in Auckland, where a 30 per cent deposit was required if you were not a first home buyer or the house being purchased was not the primary home of the purchaser.
"It's predominantly due to their proximity to Auckland and the lifestyle each area provides."
The Tauranga region was popular due to its proximity to the beach, schools, hospital facilities and the great lifestyle it provided. However, the Reserve Bank was closely monitoring the recent rises in house price inflation in areas such as Tauranga and Hamilton, she said.
QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said most Tauranga suburbs saw a surge in home values during 2015.
The latest QV House Price Index statistics showed the average value for Tauranga rose by 15.5 per cent or $70,000 from $455,196 in November 2014 to $525,758 in November 2015, she said.
Additional reporting - Kim Fulton