As the real estate market continues to boom, so does the demand for residential homes in Rotorua worth $1 million.

A search on realestate.co.nz and trademe.co.nz for residential houses listed at a minimum $1m generated three results in Rotorua, with six additional lakeside properties.

Lakeside and section listings valued at $1m or more are more common, but those who seek a lavish ready-made home need not travel far from town.

The land of the three currently listed properties in town are between 1109 and 1214sq m.

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The homes feature spacious four to five bedrooms and two to three large bathrooms. The final price is to be negotiated.

Steve Lovegrove, Professionals McDowell Real Estate principal, said the demand of $1m properties had grown within the past two years, particularly with lakeside homes and properties with views.

"The biggest problem is that there is more demand than stock.

"We have been surprised to see that a $1m property in Rotorua doesn't take long to sell. Interest grows fairly quickly for a well-presented property at a good price range."

In reference to information he obtained from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, Mr Lovegrove confirmed that from January to the end of May, 12 residential properties or apartments had sold in Rotorua for more than $1m.

LJ Hooker Rotorua principal Malcolm Forsyth said: "We have seen a spectacular rise in the past 18 months."

He does not expect to see major drops in the Rotorua market in the near future.

The consensus among real estate professionals is that the property boom has been driven by the influx of people coming to Rotorua from larger cities for a change of lifestyle.

According to Harcourts sales consultant Hielke Oppers, Rotorua is an increasingly attractive location.

"More people come to Rotorua to escape the big cities, and this helps in the value increase of higher end properties," Mr Oppers said.

"Many more sales now are reaching $800,000. Over time, they will become $1m sales, but this will take a few years."

In addition, property values are relative to the specific trend in a particular city. Buyers familiar with big city real estate markets might have different measures than those who compare the current market in Rotorua with patterns seen in previous years.

"A buyer coming from the Auckland market space has a different perception of the market than a local person from Rotorua," explained Mr Lovegrove, who moved here from Auckland 18 months ago.

"Rotorua is a down-to-earth kind of city where we don't feel the need to keep up with the Joneses."

However, more prestigious properties appeal not only to those relocating from larger cities.

Anita Martelli of Ray White in Rotorua has received interest from locals and out of town buyers.

Ms Martelli said most her clients were interested in excellent views and fairly new properties.

She found those looking to sell such homes were usually around the age of retirement and were looking to downgrade.

Glenn and Calvin Handley are in that very position.

The Handleys recently decided to list their house on Tihi Rd in Springfield to accommodate their move to a smaller home. Mr Handley said the valuation of their 500sq m home was about $1.3m.

Mr Handley, a professional builder, designed the house and built it largely on his own, with the help of family members. The Handleys moved in six years ago.

With four bedrooms, two bathrooms, two lounges, a spacious kitchen, and a large basement garage, the house was a dream home for them.

"We can see the lake from the house," Mrs Handley said.

"It's quiet, peaceful, and we love the area. It's also close to town, a school, and within walking distance to the stadium."

Mrs Handley handed in her resignation from her job as a receptionist at a medical centre this week, while Mr Handley has plans to work for several more years.

With retirement on the horizon, the couple is ready to move to a smaller low-maintenance home.

They have bought a section not far from their current neighbourhood, with plans to design a smaller single-level house.

"I feel we have made the right decision," Mrs Handley said.

"A home is what you make it. We had lots of love and fun in our house and we are looking forward to having that in our next home."

FIVE HOMES OVER $1 MILLION IN ROTORUA:

5-bedroom, 3-bathroom home at the end of a cul-de-sac on Exeter Pl, Tihiotonga (price negotiation)

5-bedroom, 3-bathroom home on French Pl, Tihiotonga (price negotiation)

4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home on Tihi Rd, Springfield (price negotiation)

4-bedroom, 3-bathroom home on Spencer Rd, near Lake Tarawera ($1,450,000)

4-bedroom, 4-bathroom home on Hamurana Rd, Hamurana (price negotiation)