A local realty photographer has been rushed off her feet and even followed around by buyers eager to beat the queue as competition to snap up a home in Rotorua heats up.

Figures released yesterday by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) reveal Rotorua house sales have risen by 114 per cent this January as compared to January 2015 with 109 houses sold compared to 51.

Deanna Onan is the Open2view representative and photographer of homes going on the market in Rotorua and Taupo.

She said in the 13 years she had worked here it was the busiest she has ever seen it.


"I've had a couple of cars follow me around to see where I'm going to photograph next and I have to tell them I'm not a realtor so I can't give them any information.

"I usually park a couple of houses away so they don't know where I'm going," Mrs Onan said.

She takes photographs for most of the real estate agencies in Rotorua and Taupo.

"I'm currently looking for a second photographer for Rotorua and Taupo because I have been overly busy for the last couple of years and it's getting a bit much."

REINZ Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional director Philip Searle said smaller towns such as Rotorua, Gisborne and Taupo were seeing increased demand from Aucklanders.

"Listings remain in very short supply with the market being characterised as being 'hand to mouth' with new listings being sold very quickly."

The median sale price in Rotorua rose $10,000 from $255,000 in January 2015 to $265,000 January 2016.

Ray White Rotorua co-owner and principal Anita Martelli said they were really busy.

"Interest rates have been a factor for the Auckland buyers coming and stock numbers have been lower than normal, this all contributes."

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said the rise was positive for a number of reasons.

"It continues the trend that has been happening in Rotorua ... it is benefiting because it is getting attention from outside the area." The low interest rates helped too, he said.