February was a bumper month for Western Bay real estate with home buyers signing on the dotted line at a rate of 10 a day, according to new figures.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand reported 231 sales in Tauranga City and 57 in the Western Bay of Plenty District last month.

Sales volumes in Tauranga were about 40 per cent higher than in January - a normal trend - but also up a few percentage points on February 2017.

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Local industry experts have put the February lift down to acceptance of the new Government, loosened loan-to-value ratios and an influx of first-home buyers to the market.

Harcourts Tauranga managing director Simon Martin said the first-home buyers were going some way to filling the gap left by investors worried about Labour's plans - but even that group was returning.

"People held off but now they are realising they have got to get on with life."

He said the Tauranga market "came off the boil" in 2017 after reaching record heights in 2015 and 2016, but it looked to be returning to a more "normalised" market in 2018.

Martin predicted the trend would continue and said stock levels and open home numbers for March were looking strong.

Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which owns Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, also predicted a strong March in Tauranga.

It would come on the back of the company's best February on record, both in terms of turnover and sales volume.

"That reflected a good level of listings and buyer demand," Anderson said.


A delayed lift from year's late spring could also be contributing to the trend.

"We're seeing a lot more interest from first-home buyers in our market. There is still interest from Auckland and Wellington but most people are local."

He said more first-home buyers in the market could cause a drop in the median house price, which in February was sitting at $628,000 in Tauranga City.

That was a drop from January's $640,000 but up nearly 5 per cent on February 2017.

In the Western Bay of Plenty, the median price in February was $610,000 up 4.3 per cent on January and 6.1 per cent on February 2017.

Across the Bay of Plenty, the median price rose by more than $50,000 over 12 months from $502,450 in February 2017 to $553,000 last month.

Some 435 properties were sold across the region, down from 310 last month and about the same as February 2017.

Properties took on average 55 days to sell.

Sales volumes, February 2018

Tauranga - 231
Western BOP - 57
Rotorua - 88
Whakatane - 40
Kawerau - 6
Opotiki - 13
Bay of Plenty - 435
Source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand