House sales in Mt Maunganui/Papamoa rose more than 20 per cent year-on-year last month but volumes in Tauranga dropped, according to REINZ data.
The August residential real estate data for Mt Maunganu/Papamoa and Tauranga shows both sales volumes and median values were up on July.
Median values for both areas were also up on August 2015.
However, property agents said there were signs that resistance was beginning to set in at some price points, with the looming introduction next month of new investor loan to value ratios (LVRs) of 40 per cent also now beginning to impact the market.
Sales volumes in August were up on the previous month by 12 per cent in Mt Maunganui/Papamoa and 8 per cent in Tauranga. But while Mt Maunganui/Papamoa sales volumes rose 22.2 per cent, volumes in Tauranga were down 11.1 per cent, according to REINZ data.
Realty Services chief executive Ross Stanway said the disparity between Tauranga and Mt Maunganui/Papamoa sales volumes for the month was not especially significant on a yearly comparative basis.
Listing levels in Waikato/Bay of Plenty mirrored a falling trend nationwide. The region had just under 12 weeks of supply available, a drop of 30 per cent over the past year.
"Investor activity has continued to decline since the announcement of new LVR restrictions, although underlying first-home buyer demand remains solid across the region," said REINZ regional director Philip Searle.
"The shortage of listings remains acute in some parts of the region, with the limited availability of properties restricting buyer choice."
REINZ Tauranga district forum leader and Bayleys Tauranga branch manager Dickie Burman said that while agents were still getting multiple offers on good properties, they were seeing a lift in buyer resistance on pricing. "The intense heat has gone out of [the market]," he said. "But it's still pretty hot."
Greg Purcell, owner of Ray White Papamoa Beach, said his anecdotal experience was that some buyers believed the market was peaking.
"They're deciding there's a point beyond which they won't go. People are going to auctions, but there's not so much frenzied bidding to secure at all costs."
Mr Stanway agreed there were signs that buyers were responding to the significant recent increases in certain price ranges. "There are signs buyers now are reaching a point where they know exactly what they are prepared to pay and are less inclined to increase that."
But there was still strong competition for houses in Tauranga's $450,000-to-$650,000 range properties, he said.
"We're not seeing a huge or rapid drop off in listings and we're still getting good numbers at auctions and good clearance rates," he said.
Priority One's Annie Hill said Tauranga was in a wonderful position because people wanted to move to the region.
"People have always wanted to move here. The difference now is we have the strong job growth - that's the real shining light."
Going stress free
Milo Tusega and her three children relocated to Tauranga from Takanini, South Auckland, in search of a stress-free environment, and ended up in Papamoa.
"We lived in South Auckland for seven years and every time I drove down here I always felt at peace," said Mrs Tusega, whose children are aged 18, 13 and 10.
"It feels stress free. We decided to move after the first term."
The family was specifically looking to find a place in Mount Maunganui, but couldn't find anything they liked. Then Ray White agent Werner Kreutz showed them a house on Dickson Road, Papamoa.
"We were sure it was for us."
Ms Tusega said it had been reasonably tough to sell their house in South Auckland, but she was happy with the price they got, although they paid more for the Dickson Road property, which cost $725,000.
The 286 sq m Dickson Rd property, built in 2004, has three bedrooms plus an office on a 497 sq m section, and is five minutes from the beach.
The family moved in two months ago, and had spent about two-and-a-half months looking for a suitable property in Tauranga.
Ray White's Werner Kreutz said there was a bit of a shortage of listings in the area and there had been strong interest in the Dickson Road property.
However, he noted that generally, some Tauranga vendors' expectations were moving away from reality, with purchasers no longer prepared to pay any price.
August median house prices
• Mt Maunganui/Papamoa: $640,000, up 29.3 per cent on August 2015
• Tauranga: $554,500, up 15.9 per cent on August 2015