Rotorua property values have risen 13.8 per cent in the past 12 months, hitting an average value of more than $300,000.
But, while Rotorua real estate agents say it's a great time to sell, first-home buyers could find it difficult to get into the market and should be making moves on homes sooner rather than later.
The QV House Price Index for March, released yesterday, shows the current average valuation of a house in Rotorua is $305,603 - that's 13.8 per cent higher than last March and up 3.6 per cent from three months ago. Average values now sit 4.1 per cent higher than the 2007 market peak.
Harcourts Rotorua sales consultant Hielke Oppers said it was hard for first-time buyers but, with low interest rates, they should not wait for the market to cool off. "There are still a lot of properties available for $230,000 to $250,000, so people need to adjust their thinking, you don't always need that walk-in wardrobe.
"If the trend continues people could potentially lose a deal over just two or three thousand dollars. Be educated about the market, and be decisive."
Professionals McDowell Rotorua owner Steve Lovegrove said the figures were similar to the ones he saw in Auckland back in 2012 and would continue to rise in the coming months.
"Buyers are becoming frustrated because they are seen to be competing with other buyers."
He said when the market was moving so quickly now was the time to make a profit on selling a property. "For first-time buyers, there's little risk their property values will drop in the next year ... so the sooner the better, because it will just get harder. Banks are falling all over themselves to lend money at the moment," he said.
Karen Worley, sales and marketing manager of Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said there was still a lot of interest from out-of-town buyers. "But also some confidence in the local economy with Rotorua residents moving house. It is difficult for first-home buyers with investors who are fully cashed up and ready to buy. If the trends in Rotorua are the same as in the wider Bay of Plenty, then get in quick or miss out."
Ray White Rotorua co-owner and principal Anita Martelli said the market was still very busy across the board, first-home buyers and investors. "Most sales are going between $200,000 and $300,000 with a good number between $300,000 and $400,000. March is looking like a record month, but we are getting more stock in every day."
Rotorua's QV property statistics:
* Average house value in Rotorua $305,603
* 13.8 per cent higher than March last year
* 3.6 per cent higher than December last year
* 4.1 per cent higher than 2007 market peak