Matua is now Tauranga's most expensive suburb with Mount Maunganui coming a close second and Bethlehem dropping down to the third.

Bethlehem held the top spot in 2011 but slipped back behind Matua ($521,800) Mount Maunganui ($513,700) with an average price of $508,150, according to the latest QV report,

Matua, Mount Maunganui and the inner Avenues have traditionally been the top three suburbs in Tauranga, says Ray White Papamoa and Mount Maunganui principal Greg Purcell.

" Matua has always been a mix of really well-off retired people and well-to-do families. With the schools, it's always been sought after ," he said.

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He was not surprised by rising prices in Matua and Otumoetai, which he described as the "backbone of Tauranga".

"It's still close to town, it has solid real estate, a lot of facilities, from playgrounds to sports grounds, all the infrastructure is there. It's an ever-popular area.

"You can't really make it bigger. If you want to live there you can't go and buy a section, generally speaking, and build. "

Karen Worley, group sales and marketing manager for Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said Matua traditionally had a mature population, with homeowners now looking to downsize. "It's now an attractive area for families."

LJ Hooker Tauranga franchise owner Neville Falconer said Matua was a "safe" area to buy, where a homeowner would be able to "park their money" once purchasing there.

National MP Simon Bridges said he moved from the Mount to Matua just over a year ago to get "more bang for our buck".

"It's a great suburb, which is close to everything but it's also a peninsula which is quiet and secluded," he said.

Matua Residents Association chairman Richard Kluit said the suburb's growing popularity was due to the good schools in the area, accessible parks and walking tracks.