Property values in Greerton, Parkvale and Gate Pa have lifted more than 30 per cent in one year, new figures show. A Quotable Value New Zealand E-Valuer report reveals Greerton had the biggest increase in median values to the year ending March 2016 - with a 32.1 per cent increase - up more than $100,000 from $323,200 to $426,850.
In April, values in Greerton jumped further to a median average of $429,650 while Parkvale went from $278,100 in March 2015 to $370,650 in April 2016 and the average value at Gate Pa climbed from $291,800 to $386,750 over the same timeframes.
QV Homevalue Tauranga registered valuer David Hume said Greerton was experiencing strong demand from investors who were snapping up the area's more affordable homes in the $400,000 to $500,000 bracket, which offered some of the best rental returns in the city.
It's totally driven by that everyone is singing the same song. Everyone wants listings and there is not enough available stock, end of story.
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"It has also become more increasingly popular with first home buyers who have been priced out of other suburbs."
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said Greerton, Parkvale and Gate Pa had experienced renewed interest and represented good value for buyers.
"They typify suburbs in the past that had lower medians and therefore in today's market there are more people interested in them. They are buying good, sound properties close to town and spending money on renovating them and that lifts the whole appeal of many of the streets.
"Those suburbs are really coming into their own and getting a new life, which is great."
First National Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and Omokoroa owner Anton Jones said there "is a lot of investors out there that we know that have been buying ... especially at the lower end".
"Auckland had it first and then they got too pricey for the normal person so there has been a flow-on effect from out of the regions, that is where it has all come from."
Good returns combined with capital gains and economic growth meant the city was an attractive place to invest, he said.
Harcourts Tauranga managing director Simon Martin said where people decided to buy was often dependent on their budget.
"If you have someone that has a million dollars they won't necessarily be looking at some of those areas because it does depend on what they have to spend."
Suburbs including Greerton, Parkvale and Gate Pa were in catch-up mode, he said.
"They were lagging behind the rest of Tauranga and at the end of the day they have just had a quick catch-up to come into line with the rest of the town. If you levelled those gains out from 2007 it's probably not so dramatic, it's just they have happened in a short period of time."
Greg Purcell, franchise owner of Ray White Realty Focus Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, said it was a simple case of supply of demand.
"It's totally driven by that everyone is singing the same song. Everyone wants listings and there is not enough available stock, end of story."
Mr Purcell had also noticed more pre-auction offers from people wanting to secure a property prior and buyers had become savvy. "That is over to the owners if they want to accept that or not, that is completely their call but has almost become standard," he said.
Mortgages and Finance owner Chris Rapson said it was difficult to find any property under $400,000 in Tauranga and more of his clients had opted to build.
"It is very challenging and we have got more construction loans on our books at the moment than we have ever had."
Last week one of its clients sold a rental property in Merivale that they purchased for $295,000 which fetched about $380,000, he said.
"That equates to about a 25 per cent lift in value and they had no difficulty in selling it.
"I think people are now realising the values of properties that are in close proximity to schools and the hospital which are often modest homes."
91-year-old loves neighbourhood
Long-time Greerton resident Eva Burbery says she loves her neighbourhood and would never want to live anywhere else.
The 91-year-old credits the friendly community and caring people for her close affinity with the suburb. "I love the people here. They are all the same, I've never struck one crook one, not one."
She moved to Greerton from Auckland with her late husband Clive who helped to build the house Mrs Burbery still calls home - where they raised four children.
Mr Burbery's family had an orchard on Cameron Rd - and Mrs Burbery said she never regretted the move or would contemplate selling.
"I've never regretted it. We were on a farm at Pongakawa but we eventually settled in Greerton. I have lived here for donkey's years and I couldn't sell it, it's my home."
Mrs Burbery had seen Greerton transform as land was swallowed up for residential development.
"Oh good heavens, I have seen lots of changes and there is not much bare land around now. I have a big section because I like my space and I have a bird aviary, it's my hobby.
"We didn't have all these shops that we have got now, I worked for a grocer on the checkout, it's an interesting place and everyone is nice."
Once a week Mrs Burbery said she enjoyed going to the Greerton Craft Centre, "because that is where all us oldies meet".
Former Tauranga City councillor Terry Molloy shared the same sentiments about Greerton and had a lifetime connection to the place.
"My first memories of Greerton was it being very rural. I can remember when Racecourse Rd was first tar-sealed and there were only a few orchards and houses opposite it.
"At one stage there was only a service station and corner store apart from the sub-station."
But it had grown and that was a natural progression, the 72-year-old said.
He chaired the Greerton redevelopment committee that was set up in 1993 that was responsible for getting the land purchased for the village square and it had the concept for a new library and shops.