Home buyers could save about $250,000 by choosing to own an apartment in Papamoa rather than a house, according to new Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data.
Figures showed 34 apartments in Papamoa Beach were sold in 2017 at a median price of $415,000 and 638 houses sold for a median price of $673,000.
Those figures meant it was about $258,000 cheaper to buy an apartment in Papamoa Beach than a house.
It was about $157,000 more affordable to buy an apartment than a house in Mount Maunganui, where 125 apartments sold in 2017 for a median price of $548,000 and 389 houses sold for a median $705,000.
However, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief Bindi Norwell said it was cheaper to buy a residential property than an apartment in Tauranga Central, with a $216,250 difference in median sales prices.
A total of 24 apartments in Tauranga Central were sold in 2017 at a median price of $781,250 and 34 houses sold for a median price of $565,000.
Yvonne Stanley moved into her Papamoa apartment she had bought for $800,000 about nine years ago for the second time on Friday after renting it out for four and a half years.
The 78-year-old lived in her four-bedroom home in Papamoa while she rented out her apartment overlooking Papamoa Beach.
But Stanley sold her home for $740,000 to move back into her apartment after wanting to downsize.
"I decided to sell my house because it was a lot easier than selling an apartment. It sold quickly too.
"I made a good profit on it," she said. "I don't expect to make any profit on this [apartment]."
Stanley said the appeal of owning an apartment in Papamoa was because there were not many in the area.
"I just think this is just a new place to have an apartment. It is safe and it has a lovely view."
Janice Fowler-Wilde lived in a townhouse in a new development at Nine Oaks in Papamoa after buying "off the plans" for $461,000 about two years ago.
The 60-year-old moved from Auckland into her "very spacious" three-storey townhouse with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in December.
"What is not to love? People complain about the traffic, but it is not as bad as Auckland. It is 20 minutes' walk to the beach and the climate is amazing," she said.
"The great thing about the townhouse is we don't have to worry about mowing the lawn."
Fowler-Wilde said she moved to Papamoa to downsize from her Auckland home.
"We are at a point in our lives where we want to travel and this is great because it is lock up and leave, and it is safe here."
Ray White Bayfair salesman Patrick Stegeman agreed it was more affordable to buy an apartment in Papamoa than a house.
Stegeman said he had a two bedroom apartment/unit for sale in Papamoa and in that complex there were two more three-bedroom units for sale.
Prices ranged from $460,000, $479,000 and $499,000.
"These properties are almost or nearly new," Stegeman said.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group which operates Eves and Bayleys, said there were more houses on the market in Papamoa than apartments.
"The quality of houses in Papamoa is pretty strong. So by nature, the value of houses is going to be more.
"The typical demographic in Papamoa is young families and with the quality of houses and schools in that area it is very appealing."
Anton Jones from First National Realty said apartments were generally cheaper, but buyers had to be aware of body corporate fees.
Jones said there were fewer apartments in Tauranga than in Papamoa, where there were more developments.
"If you want a holiday place an apartment is an easy lock up and leave. It is very appealing."
A spokesman from Rapson Loans and Finance said it was difficult to find a decent residential home for less than $400,000.
"If you do find that property you have to have $70,000 to $80,000 deposit and that is a real challenge."
The spokesman said whether a home or an apartment was more affordable depended on the buyer's circumstances.
"For a first-home buyer, $600,000 is out of the question to all but the very privileged few."