There have been 156 houses sold for more than $1 million in Tauranga in the first half of this year – 15 more than at the same time last year.

But local real estate bosses say there are not as many of those high-end properties entering the market, with one expecting the volume of sales to drop over the next six months.

There were 141 million-dollar-plus houses sold in Tauranga in the first half of 2017 and 156 in the first half of 2018, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's Million Dollar Price Report.

That is an increase of 11 per cent.

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Two of the 156 houses sold this year were worth more than $3m and one was $5m-plus.

That was a Mount Maunganui home on Oceanbeach Rd which sold for $6.3m at a public auction in May.

The number of $1 million-plus houses sold in the Western Bay is also up – by 24 per cent.

There were 25 million-dollar-plus sales in the first half of last year in the Western Bay and 31 in the first half of this year.

Tauranga Harcourts general manager Nigel Martin said he had seen an increase in activity at the top end of the market over that period.

"And it came down to probably having more properties available to purchase in that market … although we've now got to a point where the top end properties – there's not as many of them around. So I don't think we will see that kind of volume potentially going forward in the next six months."

Martin said house price rises in Tauranga and the Western Bay over the past few years had also brought more properties into the million-dollar-plus price bracket.

"If a property was originally $900,000 it only needs to go up 10-15 per cent and then all of a sudden it's over the million-dollar mark. So it becomes one of those stats."

He said the house that sold for $6.3m in Mount Maunganui in May was a unique property in a unique position and location, which drove up the price.

"There were a number of people who wanted it too, so when you have competition in an auction environment, that's when you tend to get these kinds of prices."

The three-bedroom home went through a three-week marketing campaign and, after coming down to a final four bidders, sold at a hotly-contested auction in the fourth week to a local buyer.

The house had three bathrooms, three toilets, two lounges, a dining room, a study and two garage car spaces.

It was built closest to the beach on an 857sq m site, which had the potential to be subdivided.

Martin said plenty of properties around Mount Maunganui would be worth that kind of money, "but they just don't come up for sale very often".

Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said both brands dealt in the top end of the market and had seen a big increase in million-dollar-plus properties turning over.

"It's quite amazing how you don't have to go back too far and a million dollar sale was quite a big event in Tauranga. And now you look at it and there's 150-odd. That's quite incredible."

Anderson said there was still a lot of buyer interest at that top end, "but not the stock on hand to sell to those people".

He said despite that, the high-end market remained strong, "which means there's still a fair bit of cash around the system".

Anderson said Mount Maunganui and Bethlehem were big areas for million-dollar-plus sales and those buying included both locals and people from out of town.

"With the business community in Tauranga now, there's a number of high-earning or high-wealth people who are looking for those properties ... but also there's still a number from outside the area.

"The Auckland inquiry is obviously still strong. Not as strong as it was, but it's certainly still there."

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said Tauranga was still feeling the effects of increased demand and an influx of buyers with more purchasing power and a willingness to push harder to secure well-located, well-presented homes.

"This has put upward pressure on prices and resulted in more properties moving into that $1m-plus bracket," he said.

"Although the top end of the market is performing well, its pace of growth this year has slowed, compared to 2017. This may lead to more consolidation in that segment of the market. The strongest price growth continues to be in lower-price brackets."

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Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said he was more concerned about rises in average house prices and the average person being able to get a house.

"If at the top end the prices go up, well, that probably only affects people with money anyway. They can perhaps afford it, or they think they can afford to speculate on it.

"What happens at that top end of the market isn't sort of worrying from my point of view, although I'd worry … if they're just speculating in real estate; that's not good, not good for the city."

Meanwhile, the wider Bay of Plenty region saw a 21 per cent increase in million-dollar-plus sales when comparing the first half of 2017 with the first half of 2018, from 176 houses to 213.

New Zealand-wide there was an increase of 4.2 per cent (218 houses), from 5220 to 5438.