A three-bedroom beachfront home in Mount Maunganui with a $6.3 million price tag was the most expensive house sold in Tauranga during the year to August.

The latest Valocity data showed a home on Oceanbeach Rd topped the list of Tauranga's five biggest residential sales in the 12 months to August 2018.

The city's top five sales were all houses in Mount Maunganui, ranging from $3m to $6.3m. The Oceanbeach Rd home was sold at a public auction in May this year.

The data showed 2130 residential properties were sold in Tauranga during the year to August.

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The total value of those sales was $1.8 billion.

Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the demand continued for houses in Mount Maunganui.

"It is landlocked, so when a good one comes up it is strongly chased," he said. "The Mount is such a sought-after place."

Anderson said Oceanbeach Rd was popular among buyers in the Mount due to its beachfront location.

"There is strong local buyer interest in the Mount."

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Ray White Realty Focus Mount Maunganui and Papamoa franchise owner Greg Purcell said the Mount was becoming more and more exclusive.

"The bigger Tauranga gets, by ratio, the rarer those places become," he said. "They have always been good spots, but as it expands you can't replace that."

Purcell said the Mount was one of a few places in New Zealand that were seen as a "destination" and people took a lot of pride in living there.

However, he said the value of homes varied along Oceanbeach Rd due to their proximity to beach accesses. "The value is directly associated with that view."

OneRoof.co.nz editor Owen Vaughan said it was hard to generalise why one home would sell for $1.5m and another just down the road would go for $5m, but water views were usually key in New Zealand.

"Homes with water directly in front of them, a road behind them and a long clear line of sight tend to be valuable everywhere," he said.

However, Vaughan said there was limited stock that fit that criteria, which lead to higher prices.

"Architecture and design is almost secondary to that, with position more important to the upper end of the market than the actual house."

Vaughan said development potential was the other factor driving higher prices in New Zealand.

"The ability to put up several townhouses or an apartment block on a site that currently houses just one home would increase that property's value."

Mount Maunganui College principal Alastair Sinton said a large number of their students were second or third-generation.

There were also plenty of local students whose families had joined the school from throughout New Zealand or from overseas and had chosen Mount Maunganui as their home.

"A lot of New Zealanders are drawn to the water and feel a connection with the ocean and Mount Maunganui is surrounded by it," he said. "It really is a special place."

Deputy principal Ady van der Beek used to holiday at the Mount from Putaruru as a child before moving to the area more than 30 years ago.

He said the Mount was easily identifiable for both locals and visitors.

"When people come here they see the Mount as a good place, it brings back memories," he said.

"My favourite things about the Mount is the surf, the climate, coupled with a strong community that retains its identity despite the flow of tourism."

Mount Maunganui ward councillor Leanne Brown said Mount Maunganui had always been a popular place.

"It has naturally become a destination of choice by reputation," she said. "It is just like being on holiday."

 Eldred Irving has lived in Mount Maunganui since 1981. Photo / Andrew Warner
Eldred Irving has lived in Mount Maunganui since 1981. Photo / Andrew Warner

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Eldred Irving has lived in Mount Maunganui since 1981.

Family was the reason the former Waikato farmer moved to the Mount almost 40 years ago.

"I always say that when you leave the Mount you leave the country because there is no better place in New Zealand," he said.

Irving invested in both commercial and rental property in the beachside suburb, buying a commercial site on Tawa St in 1982 and the neighbouring house in 2000, which he still lives in today.

What was initially bought for $70,000 was now worth a couple million, he said. "As the town grew, my wealth grew."

The long-time Mount Maunganui resident said the suburb had grown significantly in the last 37 years.

"All of Marine Parade was mostly baches and now it is mostly million-dollar homes," he said.

The attraction to Mount Maunganui was its proximity to the harbour, beach, neighbouring cities such as Rotorua and Hamilton - as well as having good hospital facilities, Irving said.

"It is central to everything."


Tauranga's top five sales:
1. 7 Oceanbeach Rd, $6,300,000
- 3 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- 3 toilets
- 2 lounges
- 1 dining room
- 1 study
- 2 garage car spaces

2. 4/20 The Mall, $3,400,000
- Apartment
- 3 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- 2 car spaces

3.11 Rita St, $3,200,000
- 4 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- 1 car space

4. 38 Te Ngaio Rd, $3,100,000
- 4 bedrooms
- 3 bathrooms
- 3 lounge areas
- 2 car spaces
- pool

5. 161 Oceanbeach Rd, $3,050,000
- 4 bedrooms
- 2 bathrooms
- 2 car spaces

Sources: harcourts.co.nz, homes.co.nz, www.powersrealty.co.nz, homes.co.nz