Tauranga's housing market appears to have plateaued, new figures from OneRoof and Valocity show.
The median value of all properties in the city for January was $653,000 - up just 0.3 per cent on the month before and only 3.3 per cent year on year.
Nationally, the data shows the median value growing less than one per cent month on month and just 5.5 per cent year on year to hit $598,000.
OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said investor activity had dropped off significantly in Tauranga, which had contributed to slower growth in the city.
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"Tauranga no longer offers that group of buyers the big returns that were typical two or three years ago," he said.
"First-home buyers remain the biggest participants in the market, but they appear to concentrate their efforts in more affordable fringe suburbs."
Vaughan said higher-value inner-city suburbs could be at risk if there was a sudden rise in interest rates.
"The city does not have strong enough population growth to support rising values in these suburbs, and there isn't the cheap capital to support future growth," he said.
Sales figures indicate that the city's property market is slowly moving in favour of buyers.
"However, it's highly unlikely the city's market will suffer a house price collapse, such as experienced Sydney and Melbourne," Vaughan said.
The figures show Hairini was Tauranga's top performing suburb, with median house prices in the area rising 16.6 per cent in the year to November 2018.
Tauranga Central followed with a yearly increase of 14.9 per cent.
The worst performing suburb was Mount Maunganui, with the median house price there increasing by only 2.2 per cent in the year to November 2018.
The median house price for the region dropped 2.9 per cent year-on-year to $680,000.
Valocity director of valuation and innovation James Wilson said the "wait-and-see" mentality that had crept into the market early last year was starting to take hold, with many market participants holding off making decisions.
"Despite historically low-interest rates supporting demand levels, market confidence has plateaued."
The latest figures also showed the most amount of sales in Tauranga were for homes valued in the $750,000 to $1 million bracket which counted for 27.5 per cent of sales.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the $750,000-$1m range was where a large proportion of the homes in Tauranga now sit.
"So by default, there are going to be more sales in that range."
He said most of them would be four-bedroom, double garage, two-bathroom with a bit of yard-type houses.
Anderson said a lot of the new homes in the city, typically located in subdivisions, also sit in that range.
"You think of a land and build package of $300,000 for the land, and you're not going to build a house for much less than $400,000, so straight away they're in the $700,000/$750,000s," he said.
"You're not going to attract a first-home buyer, because it's out of their reach, so you're looking for a different type of buyer than that and that's someone obviously moving from their first to second, or probably second to third home, or coming down the ladder.
"They've had the big home, the kids have left and they're coming back down."
He said a lot of immigrants, from the likes of England, will also often buy in the $750,000-$1 million range.
Anderson said there were still plenty of first-home buyer properties on the market.
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, formerly First National, Anton Jones said there were a high number of sales in the $750,000 to $1m market and $500,000 market.
Jones said buyers in that bracket were not typically first home buyers, but more young families looking to upgrade into something bigger.
He said houses in the upper market were often listed in Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa, or in areas with subdivisions where there were newer houses.
Hairini was a popular market due to its proximity to schools, Anton said.
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said January had been a big month for sale volumes.
"Generally the market has been positive," he said. " It is a pretty stabilised market."
Tauranga's top suburbs - year-on-year growth:
Hairini - 16.6 per cent
Tauranga central - 14.9 per cent
Ohauiti - 9.6 per cent
Tauranga South - 6.8 per cent
Gate Pā - 5.2 per cent
Greerton - 4.1 per cent
Judea - 3.2 per cent
Parkvale - 2.5 per cent
Ōtūmoetai - 2.4 per cent
Mount Maunganui - 2.2 per cent