A house listed for sale in Te Puke on Thursday had a contract on it within two hours — backing up 2015 data that reveals buyers have shifted their spotlight to outlying areas or up-and-coming city suburbs including Parkvale and Gate Pa.
Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) that compared 2014 statistics with last year revealed that Te Puke sales jumped to 278, up 136 per cent, and Athenree more than tripled with 44 homes sold, up 214 per cent.
I have been trying to get another deal or steal in Te Puke but they are very, very hard to find. I could not believe that property had a signed contract on it in two hours, it's crazy.
There were also significant lifts in Parkvale (72 homes sold, up 85 per cent) and Gate Pa (171 houses sold at an increase of 84 per cent).
Tauranga property investor Lindsay Richards said he had lodged a back-up offer on a property in Te Puke yesterday. It was listed at 10am on Thursday but by the time the agent returned his call at midday it was already under contract.
"I have been trying to get another deal or steal in Te Puke but they are very, very hard to find. I could not believe that property had a signed contract on it in two hours, it's crazy."
Ray White Te Puke owner Rochelle Carter said the market was buoyant with higher sales volumes and increasing values.
"After years of stagnation, we're seeing huge growth in the Western Bay of Plenty," she said.
"First-home buyers are attracted by the low interest rates, which has increased their purchasing capacity as they are more active in the region."
Mrs Carter said days on the market were short.
"We listed a property on Saturday and it sold under multi-offer on Monday. We're bringing them to the market by negotiation to see what buyers are prepared to pay.
"In this market, who knows what you'll get."
First National Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and Omokoroa owner Anton Jones said the big increase in sales to Parkvale, Gate Pa, Tauranga South, Greerton and Welcome Bay was generally because these areas were popular with investors.
"People are making quite a good capital gain there, which we haven't seen in the last 12 to 18 months."
Increased building activity in Welcome Bay would also have contributed to sales numbers. "Generally, the more affordable areas around good schools tend to go first because they are the cheaper homes so that's why people looking there are investors and first-home buyers."
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said he was not surprised to hear which areas had seen the biggest increases in sales volumes.
As volumes and prices increased across the board, suburbs like Gate Pa and Greerton represented value for money for many buyers.
"All of those areas in the past have had low volumes and sales, and a lower price than other Tauranga suburbs," he said.
"These suburbs have attracted a renewed level of interest."
As well as those suburbs, Mr Stanway said volumes and values had been going up in parts of Arataki and Bayfair with more people wanting to live on that side of the bridge.
"New suburbs are coming on the radar screen," said Mr Stanway.
Tauranga Harcourts franchise owner Max Martin said there had been quite a bit of movement with investment properties.
"They have been buying and selling investment properties.
"A lot of people have had them for years or are cashing up because they want a good opportunity."
Cheaper houses attracted first-home buyers and investors but sales continued to be across the board, he said.
Parkvale (commonly known as Merivale) resident Graham Cameron said the big turnover of house sales in the suburb was made up of both investors and families.
There were young professionals and young families buying in Merivale, which was "actually fantastic because you are part of forming the community".
Meanwhile, Athenree resident Peter Harwood said the Athendale subdivision had taken off and was probably adding to the statistics.
"Over a couple of years that has gone from nothing to just about full ... I had the impression if something went on the market it's snapped up pretty quickly.
"In my view, I'd prefer it not to grow too much because it's off the beaten track, a bit quieter and I think that is why some people like it.
Gate Pa resident Deb McCarthy said in her view there was foreseeable growth on the horizon because of housing and developments — "they are building all around us".
Demand surges for Te Puke homes
Competition for property in Te Puke has reached new levels as home buyers and investors eye up houses on the outskirts of the city. Rental demand had also escalated with one listing attracting 60 replies in two days.
Tauranga investor Lindsay Richards said he bought two houses in the township at the end of last year and "now it is on everyone's radar".
He had put a back-up offer on another property on Thursday — it was under contract two hours after it was listed on Trade Me — but he was not confident the deal would swing his way.
Mr Richards paid $335,000 for his first property in Te Puke, which was a 1960s three-bedroom home on a quarter-acre section with a one-bedroom cottage, which were both rented. His second investment was "the worst house that you could possibly find that you didn't have to demolish" — a small three-bedroom home on a 1100sq m site. "It basically had holes in the floor and walls, and we had to remove everything except the bath."
The house was purchased via negotiation for its RV of $186,000 and he guessed the Auckland investors gave it a miss because it was only listed online with two outside photos that featured grass a metre high.
He pumped about $24,000 into renovations and one week before Christmas put it on TradeMe to rent for $330. When he checked the listing two days later there were 60 replies.
Both properties were returning good cashflows and capital gain, he said.