New statistics show Rotorua's hot property market continues to sizzle and out-of-town buyers Mike and Alison Hover have decided to jump in on the action.
It is people such the Hovers moving to Rotorua that are helping to push up property values with the average value of a house in Rotorua jumping 10.2 per cent in the 12 months to February, according to the latest QV House Price index.
It shows the current average valuation of a house in Rotorua is $299,964 - up 2.7 per cent from three months ago and 2.2 per cent above the 2007 market peak.
The retired couple had always loved visiting Rotorua so when the decision was made to move, they decided Rotorua would be ideal. "Rotorua runs a bit off the radar when you compare it to places like Tauranga so when we sold in Auckland and decided to make the move, Rotorua was where we wanted to end up. The financial side of it was appealing of course but it was definitely the lifestyle choice that was most attractive."
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said the latest statistics were good news for Rotorua.
"The latest statistics show a snapshot of the ongoing upward trend Rotorua is experiencing. There has been steady growth and a very positive pattern has been emerging."
Mr Stanway said he couldn't remember a time property values in Rotorua were this high.
"There is a much wider awareness of the value-for-money properties available in Rotorua and as more and new people move to and invest in the city we are seeing spin-off benefits that ripple through the local economy."
Ray White's Tim O'Sullivan said it had been some time since Rotorua saw figures like that.
"It is still a sellers' market but there are people holding off putting their property on the market because they can't find what they want which will be contributing to the shortage of stock across the board."
Mr O'Sullivan said it was not just prices attracting people to the city. "Rotorua is like a big playground - a lot of marketing is around the lifestyle Rotorua offers."
Ian McDowell, of McDowell Professionals, said it was interesting to see Rotorua's property market continuing to grow when the Auckland market had slowed. "The number of sales has definitely increased, prices are going up and listings are becoming more scarce. We are seeing a lot of buyers competing for properties and the increase is putting pressure on the rental market as well.
"People who bought properties in the peak years of 2006 and 2007 saw values decrease and have been waiting for values to bounce back before putting their properties on the market."
First home buyers Caitlyn DeSanges and Dylan Paterson are thrilled with their new Pukehangi house. Ms DeSanges said it was a long process and they counted themselves among the lucky ones to find a property after a year-long search.
Rotorua's hot property: February
* Average valuation: $299,964
* 10.2 per cent higher than last February
* Up 2.7 per cent from three months ago
* Average values now 2.2 per cent over the 2007 market peak