How much did you spend on your first home? Do you know what your home would be worth now? Tauranga home values have shot up in the last five years, but despite strong value growth real estate agents say it is still a first-home buyer market. Property reporter Zoe Hunter analyses OneRoof/Valocity's latest property report and puts the spotlight on the city's best-performing suburbs.
The median property value in Welcome Bay has increased by $240,000 in the last five years, new data has revealed.
If you bought a home in Welcome Bay for $375,000 in 2014, your home could now be worth around $615,000 - an increase of 64 per cent - according to the latest OneRoof and Valocity property report.
Welcome Bay's median value also grew 7 per cent in the year to June, topping the list of best-performing suburbs for the period.
The report showed Welcome Bay recorded 186 sales in 2018, totalling $114 million.
The suburb has changed drastically since Robyn Williams moved there in 1981.
The Welcome Bay Stationers and Books store owner said there were few houses in the area when she moved in nearly 40 years ago.
"The biggest thing is we have gone from having cows in the paddock on the way home to nothing but houses," she said.
"My side of the road was all empty sections, now it is chocka," she said.
Williams grew up in Ōtūmoetai before leaving to study nursing in Auckland, but she decided to return home to Tauranga and settled in Welcome Bay.
What stole her heart was the view. "I have got a harbour view. That's what Tauranga is about," she said.
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones, said there were a lot of new homes being built in Welcome Bay.
"It is a really popular area, first home buyers like it," he said.
Bayleys chief operating officer Heath Young said the suburb was seen as more affordable when compared with the rest of the market.
Improved transport links and good views were also a selling point, he said.
In wider Tauranga, median home values jumped 65 per cent in the last five years to $665,000 from $400,000.
OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said Tauranga's metamorphosis from a traditional retiree market to a first-home buyer market had fuelled rapid house price inflation.
Vaughan said while most Tauranga homes sold for between $600,000 and $750,000, nearly a third of all residential property was valued less than $600,000.
"That increases appeal among first home buyers who now account for 23.6 per cent of new mortgage registrations," he said.
But Vaughan said the growth in the city's home values had stalled in the last year, with the median value growing 5.6 per cent year-on-year.
Vaughan said a general "wait-and-see" approach was driving a plateau in house price growth in Tauranga.
Investor activity had also dropped their share in mortgage registrations to just 18.2 per cent.
Anton Jones of Tremains said there had been a "big shift" in the market as more first home buyers moved into the area in search of a better lifestyle.
"There has also been good growth in population in Tauranga," he said. "We had had a real boom market in terms of value in the last five years. It has slowed, but it hasn't stopped."
Heath Young from Bayleys said more investors and migration to the Bay of Plenty from Auckland and other regions was behind the city's growth in home values.
Young said the city's home values were growing at a "healthy" rate, with 5.6 per cent on $665,000 totalling an extra $37,000.
"It is pleasing to see that first home buyers have increased and absorbed the decline in investor buyers," he said.
"First home buyers along with other purchasers now have more choice, time and access to a historically low interest rate environment."
Tauranga's rising value suburbs
Suburb growth in the last 12 months
1. Welcome Bay $615,000 - $575,000 (7%)
2. Ōtūmoetai $700,000 - $655,000(6.9%)
3. Pyes Pā $735,000- $700,000 (5%)
4. Mount Maunganui $755,000 - $720,000 (4.9%)
5. Brookfield $565,000 - $540,000 (4.6%)
Total number of sales in 2018
Welcome Bay: 186
Pyes Pā: 279
Mount Maunganui: 380
Total value of sales in 2018
Welcome Bay: $114m
Pyes Pā: $192,239,807
Mount Maunganui: $312,919545
Tauranga's top sales
1. 5 Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui: $5.5m
2. 38 Te Ngaio Rd, Mount Maunganui: $3.1m
3. 22 Victoria Rd, Mount Maunganui $2.925m
4. 113 Waratah St, Matua: $2.9m
5. 214 Oceanbeach Rd, Mount Maunganui: $2.9m