House prices edged higher in Rotorua during October, giving hope to local agents.
Rotorua's median sales price was $240,000 last month - up from $238,950 in September and $215,000 for the same time last year.
However, sales activity was down with 73 properties changing hands.
By contrast, 92 properties sold in September, though just 53 changed hands in October 2011.
Rotorua Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) spokesman Ian McDowell said while sale volumes were slightly down month-on-month, new home buyers were active in the market and investors were also returning.
"Fingers crossed that it keeps up until the end of the year.
"Listings are getting a little bit tighter but there's still quite a good number of listings available."
Mr McDowell said sales were good throughout the spectrum and he hoped the market would remain active.
The average QV value for a Rotorua property is $271,885 - down 0.8 per cent year-on-year.
Nationwide, sales surged in the past month and prices hit a record median high.
The national median house price increased by $9000 in October to $380,000 - a 2.4 per cent rise - with Auckland recording a new peak of $530,000.
More than 6600 properties changed hands last month.
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the springtime surge in new listings was struggling to keep pace with buyer demand.
Sales volumes rose across the country in October but prices did not automatically follow.
"The market is very much in two parts - the metropolitan regions of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where prices are rising; and the rest of the country, where price trends are mixed."
The total value of residential sales, including sections, was $3.15 billion in October, compared with $2.62 billion the previous month, and $2.15 billion in October, 2011.
The popularity of auctions has continued to rise nationwide with a record of sales by auction - 20.2 per cent - last month.
Nationally, 1343 properties were sold by auction in October.
Just 689 properties were sold by auction in October 2011 - 13.8 per cent of all sales.
Also on the rise, is demand for expensive homes. In the past year, sales in the $600,000 to $1 million bracket jumped by 73 per cent, and in the over-$1 million band, sales soared by 96 per cent.
Properties took 32 days on average to sell, down from 33 the previous month.
QV's latest monthly property value index shows nationwide residential values continued to climb in October.
Values were up 1.9 per cent over the past three months and 5.7 per cent over the past year. Values are now 1.1 per cent above the previous market peak of late 2007.