Mount Maunganui property values continue to soar as the beachside suburb edges closer to the $1 million mark.
Figures released by OneRoof Property show the median value of Mount Maunganui homes reached $890,600 as of July 31 this year. The value is an increase of more than $70,000 from the previous year and makes the Mount the Bay of Plenty's most expensive place to buy a home.
Ray White business owner for the Mount and Papamoa, Greg Purcell said: "If you want to be in the Mount, you have to pay for it".
"It's one of a handful of places that's a microcosm. It's like no other place in New Zealand. It just has a vibe that's utterly peculiar to itself," he said.
Mount Maunganui had always been the playground "for a lot of New Zealanders", and while the current market was not as crazy as pre-LVR rules, Mount Maunganui's property popularity was expected to continue, Purcell said.
The desire for beachside living was also reflected in demand for unique Pāpāmoa property, he said.
"We had an auction on Papamoa Beach Rd the other day; we had 77 to 78 bids for that. It was significant, and part of the reason was you got a good-sized site, and you can't make more of that - there's limited stock."
A retired Mount Maunganui resident who relocated to Victoria Rd three years ago said although it was an expensive move at the time "we managed to make it work".
The retiree and his wife, who would not be named, had Pilot Bay, shops and the main beach all within walking distance and the couple had "no regrets". Actually, they were grateful they moved when they did.
"We love it here, but if we tried to buy now, there's no way we could afford it," he said.
The couple had lived in and around the Tauranga area for about 40 years previously and had "no doubt" retiring at Mount Maunganui was the best decision.
Over a two-year period Mount Maunganui recorded a value growth of 18.2 per cent, followed by Brookfield with 14.3 per cent, then Bellevue, Bethlehem and Hairini which all grew about 13 per cent.
The figures also showed Matua recorded a median value of $810,950 - making the suburb the second most expensive in Tauranga. Meanwhile, Merivale remained Tauranga's most affordable suburb with a median value of $446,600.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said although Tauranga had experienced a small slowdown over the winter, it was still "ticking along nicely, with sales actually better than this time last year".
"The Tauranga region continues to enjoy good buyer inquiry right across our price ranges. In some areas a lack of new listings to the market has created increased demand, especially at the top end of the market," Anderson said.
"First-home buyers, although active, are taking longer to transact due to financing constraints and options currently in the marketplace."