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TAURANGA'S real estate market is red hot with a shortage of houses, high levels of buyer interest, more properties sold and those for sale selling faster. Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, Trade Me and realestate.co.nz figures paint a picture of a busy market and experts say properties are selling quicker and prices are being pushed up. Figures show 144 properties sold in Tauranga last month compared with 114 in April last year. In Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, 103 were sold last month compared to 99 last year. But Trade Me says it had 987 properties listed by agents in the first quarter of this year - 170 fewer than the same period last year. Trade Me Property spokesperson Alistair Helm said the decline in new listing numbers "is very much in line with the sentiment of the market expressed by agents in the Tauranga region". "I was down there the other week and spoke to a number of them. They highlight an ever-tightening market as sales have risen, driven by out-of-town buyers. Anecdotal evidence spoke to up to 60 per cent of inquiries on some properties being from people outside of Tauranga looking to buy investment property, with the majority ... hailing from Auckland." There was also strong interest and active buyers at auctions looking to move to Tauranga, he said. Realestate.co.nz figures also showed its first quarter listings in 2015 dropped 101 to 1111 in the same time frame - and it forecast the downward trend could continue. Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, told the Bay of Plenty Times properties were selling in a shorter period of time. "Certainly in our experience across our group the days on the market are reducing and that is a good indication of good levels of buyer interest." It was a "very good market" for people to list and more were selling under the hammer at auction, Mr Stanway said. But the situation could change "pretty quickly so it will be interesting to see if this persists in terms of properties selling at a faster rate than new properties coming on to the market."

House sales in April: Tauranga; 144 properties sold in Tauranga last month with 114 in April last year. Median house price was $386,000 up from $360,400. Mount Maunagnui/Papamoa; 103 were sold last month compared to 99 last year. The median house price was $495,000 up from $450,000.
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said prices were moving upwards. "You have got an increase in demand because the volumes of sales has gone up and you have got a decrease of supply ..." Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Ray White Realty Focus franchise owner Greg Purcell said supply and demand was dictating the market. Houses in the $300,000 to $500,000 price bracket were always popular "but that said we just sold something at Mount Maunganui for $1.6 million so it is quite universal". "That is how you know it is a good market ..." One of its properties for sale at Papamoa was advertised for four weeks and had four pre-auction offers and 13 people registered to bid, with eight bidders - that sold for $109,000 over its rateable value. What do you think? Email: editor@bayofplentytimes.co.nz