Although the overall popularity of residential house auctions is down nationwide, numbers in the central region have increased, according to New Zealand's largest real estate agency.

Harcourts have released data showing the number of new auctions held by them in December 2017 compared with a year prior.

The data, released by the chief executive of Harcourts Chris Kennedy, showed a 36.4 per cent rise in auctions in the central region, encompassing both Hamilton and Tauranga, from 44 to 60.

But Rotorua realtors say their data did not align with the central region they were part of.

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Simon Anderson, chief executive of the Realty Group which controls Bayleys and Eves Real Estate, said the company's Rotorua figures weren't in line with those from Harcourts.

"Our company is very auction-focused. Our number of auctions called is 39 per cent back on the same time last year," Anderson said.

But he said that was relative to the number of sales, which had dropped 34 per cent.

"That's the sign of the current market in Rotorua. A year ago it was a very active market.
We saw a huge explosion of sales numbers but we're back to a normal market now.

"Our auction numbers have remained at the same level relative to the market … Our success rate at auctions has actually increased."

Professionals McDowell Rotorua sales team manager Steve Lovegrove echoed Anderson's comments.

"I'd say auctions have gone down in Rotorua, with no doubt.

"From our company's point of view, I think that there's not been as much enthusiasm by vendors or agents for the auction process."

Lovegrove said larger offices in larger cities like Hamilton had the capability to do more auctions while smaller offices may not have the resources, such as an in-house auctioneer or auction room.

"Auctions thrive in a market space where there's a fear of missing out … that fear of missing out isn't as prevalent now as it was say three or four months ago."

A Professionals McDowell real estate agent said he hadn't sold at auction since at least September 2017.

But a drop in auctions hadn't meant a drop in business, he said, as Professionals McDowell had been "flat out" with buyer demand.

"Before Christmas there seemed to be more properties than there were buyers. It's almost like someone flipped a switch in January."