Bay of Plenty property prices have risen by more than $50,000 in 12 months, new figures show.

REINZ figures for February show median house prices in the Bay rose from $502,450 in February 2017 to $553,000 last month.

In Tauranga, median prices increased from $599,000 to $628,000 while in the Western Bay of Plenty they increased from $585,000 to $610,000.

Rotorua experienced some of the biggest increases, with prices up from $317,500, to $372,000 while in Whakatane prices rose from $368,000 to $445,000.

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In the Bay of Plenty region, a total of 430 properties were sold in February last year compared with 435 last month.

REINZ regional director Philip Searle said sales volumes had increased and he believed the number of listings would improve going forward "and with that, the opportunity for first-home buyers will brighten as well".

"February has been an active month in the Bay of Plenty and we are happy to see that first-home buyer interest is increasing, something that has been building throughout this year," Searle said.

"This is especially visible in the increased attendees at open homes. However, with the number of listings starting to slow down it might influence the number of first-home buyers, who are looking for their own homes but who are struggling to find properties under the $400,000 mark."

The figures also showed the current 55 days to sell was considerably less than the 10-year average for February of 67 days. The level of inventory available for sale currently sits at 14 weeks, one week less than February 2017.