Tauranga has enjoyed tremendous real estate prices and sales for years as Aucklanders flock to the seaside city and the area grows.

But latest OneRoof and Valocity median price and sales figures show it's now Rotorua's time to shine.

Zoe Hunter breaks down the figures and talks to real estate experts to find out what's happening with the property markets in the two cities - and why it's happening.

Tauranga's property boom has moved to Rotorua as buyers seek more affordable house prices, say real estate experts.

Latest OneRoof and Valocity figures show Tauranga's median sale price has jumped 6.3 per cent to $675,000 from $630,000 in the year to April.

That is more than $200,000 above the median sale price in Rotorua, which has climbed 14.3 per cent to $439,000.

The increase in sale prices followed a large drop in the number of homes sold in Tauranga, with sale volumes tumbling 53.7 per cent to 142 from 191 in the year to January 2019.

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Rotorua real estate agents say house prices had surged as people started to realise the area's potential.

"The Tauranga boom has moved west to Rotorua, where some buyers are heading to find more affordable houses," OneRoof.co.nz editor Owen Vaughan said.

"That's also having an effect on the upper end of the market, with the top sale price in the city in the past year hitting $2.2m."

The signs a suburb is on the rise.

Tauranga

Tauranga, which has benefited for several years from people moving from Auckland and taking advantage of lower prices, has seen volume drops on par with the bigger city, Vaughan said.

The strongest growth had been in mid-market suburbs, with Tauranga Central (up 11.7 per cent) and Tauranga South (9.4 per cent) leading the pack.

Tauranga Central includes Mount Maunganui, Hairini, Greerton, Ōhauiti, Bellevue, Ōtumoetai, Pāpāmoa, Judea, Brookfield, Tauriko and Welcome Bay - while Tauranga Central includes Matapihi, Pyes Pā, Gate Pā, Parkvale, Matua, Bethlehem, Poike and Maungatapu.

Vaughan said a disproportionate share of sales were in the $500,000-$750,000 price bands, but the share of new mortgage registrations to first-home buyers and investors had dropped away.

General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones. Photo / File
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones. Photo / File

General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones, said Tauranga's property boom had moved to Rotorua.

"Rotorua is the flavour of the month at the moment," he said.

But Jones said it's not all doom and gloom for Tauranga. "It has just flattened off with the school holidays," he said. "There are still the numbers coming through, people are just taking their time and are a bit more price conscious."


Rotorua

Rotorua recorded a double-digit surge in the year to April, with the median sale price up 14.3 per cent to $439,000.

OneRoof.co.nz editor Owen Vaughan said smaller towns such as Rotorua are still in catch-up mode.

"The fact they are starting from a lower base means the values gains look proportionately higher but they are still very affordable markets."

Malcolm Forsyth, of Tremains Real Estate in Rotorua, said there had been a surge in house prices as the city played catch-up after being "so far behind the eight-ball".

"People have started to realise there is some real potential here," he said. "There is so much to offer here. It doesn't make sense that Rotorua is so far behind the eight-ball."

Forsyth said the city needed to play catch-up, however, Rotorua's prices had gone up alongside the rest of the region's cities.

However, he expected to see prices start to level out later this year.

First National principal Ann Crossley. Photo / Stephen Parker
First National principal Ann Crossley. Photo / Stephen Parker

First National principal and Rotorua REINZ spokeswoman Ann Crossley said more people were choosing to drive to Tauranga from Rotorua for work.

"There is quite a lot of commuting between the two cities," she said.

"A lot of people who have landed a job in Tauranga might have thought they would move to Tauranga, but are now deciding to commute instead."

Tauranga's top five sales in the last year
5 Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui
Sold: October 2018
Sale price: $5.5m

38 Te Ngaio Rd, Mount Maunganui
Sold: July 2018
Sale price: $3.1m

22 Victoria Rd, Mount Maunganui
Sold: March 2018
Sale price: $2.92m

113 Waratah St, Matua
Sold: March 2018
Sale price: $2.9m

214 Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui
Sold: April 2018
Sale price: $2.9m


Tauranga's hot suburbs - median value:
Maungatapu (6.4%)
Welcome Bay (5.5%)
Gate Pā (5.1%)
Ōtūmoetai (4.9%)
Hairini (4.4%)


Rotorua top five sales in the last year
101 Acacia Rd, Lake Okareka
Sold: February 2018
Sale price: $2.2m

73b Burnside Dr
Sold: March 2018
Sale price: $1.75m

13 Alexander Rd, Lake Tarawera
Sold: April 2018
Sale price: $1.5m

432c Dansey Rd
Sold: May 2018
Sale price: 1.5m

59 Fairbank Rd, Owhata
Sold: February 2018
Sale price: $1.49m


Rotorua suburb risers - median value
Mamaku (26.6%)
Westbrook (6.5%)
Mangakakahi (17.1%)
Pukehangi (17%)
Utuhina (16.9%)

Source: Oneroof/Valocity figures