Pāpāmoa Beach has recorded the city's most sales over the past 11 months - with a total value of more than $500 million.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data showed 785 homes were sold in Pāpāmoa Beach from June 2017 to May 2018 for a total $521,241,880.
Mount Maunganui ranked second with 556 homes sold, and Pyes Pa was third with 337 homes sold.
Te Puke was the wider Western Bay of Plenty's top-selling area, recording 170 sales worth $83,568,508.
Katikati was the second, recording 122 sales, and Waihi Beach was third with 97 sales.
Tauranga's lowest selling suburb was Matapihi which recorded only one sale.
REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said Pāpāmoa Beach's median price for the year ending May 2018 was now the same as Mount Maunganui's at $665,000.
Norwell said Pāpāmoa Beach was favoured by families thanks to the affordability of new homes built in the area.
"It is extremely close to the beach, it has good shopping facilities, including Fashion Island, and the Excelsa Centre is currently being upgraded in a $2.3 million refurbishment," Norwell said.
"The area has a new Catholic school being built to cater for the growing number of school-age children in the area."
Te Puke also offers opportunities for families.
"The strong business growth in the area means there are more job opportunities in the region than we have seen previously," she said.
"With median prices for the year-ending May 2018 of $490,000, it's significantly more affordable for families than some of the other more popular areas in the Bay of Plenty."
Norwell said property in Matapihi was "very tightly held" which meant less available listings.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Group which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the beach, good schools, shopping centres and proximity to town were crucial reasons for Pāpāmoa's popularity.
Anderson said while Pāpāmoa Beach was popular with families, many Aucklanders moved to the area to retire.
"Pāpāmoa has good resale value," he said. "They [Aucklanders] might have sold their homes for $1-$1.5m and can get a nice home for $800,000 at Pāpāmoa and have some cash left over."
Te Puke's attraction was its affordability, Anderson said. "Those who can't afford to live at the beach have options in Te Puke."
Longtime Pāpāmoa Beach resident Rosemarie Turley moved to the area from Hamilton 41 years ago when she built a three-bedroom home on an 850m2 section for $32,600.
"We moved here for the lifestyle. We wanted to be close to the beach ... we just loved it," Turley said.
The 65-year-old's children were "born and bred" in the area and had since moved overseas. "But they are always happy to come home," she said.
The population had increased in Turley's four decades living in the area.
"There are more and more people coming to the area. You used to drive around, and it was all paddocks, and now it is full of shopping centres and new developments, but the feel of Pāpāmoa remains."
Turley said it was the "beautiful beach" and its central location that attracted people to the area.
"It is a lovely place to be; people are so friendly and helpful. I will be here forever ... I don't think I will ever move," she said.
"The longer you live in a place, the more you put down your roots."
Papamoa Primary deputy principal Wayne Whitaker said the schooling in Pāpāmoa Beach was one of the drawcards for people moving to the area.
Many new families were moving to the area and enrolling their children at the primary school.
"People are doing their homework ... I think people are reading into what is happening in the area and saying, 'I want to be part of that culture'."
Whitaker moved to the area from Ōtumoetai eight years ago to be closer to the school.
The deputy principal said the proximity to the city "without being too close", and beach lifestyle were also reasons for people to settle there.
PĀPĀMOA - BY THE NUMBERS:
- 3456 people usually live in Papamoa Beach East.
- Papamoa Beach East has 3 per cent of Tauranga City's population.
- 1656 men live in Pāpāmoa Beach.
- 1800 women live in Pāpāmoa Beach.
Source: Statistics New Zealand - Census 2013
SUBURB SALES: THE HIGHS AND LOWS
Mount Maunganui 575
Pāpāmoa Beach 565
Welcome Bay 247
Pāpāmoa Beach 765
Mount Maunganui 722
Welcome Bay 366
Pyes Pa 275
Pāpāmoa Beach 791
Mount Maunganui 658
Welcome Bay 349
Pāpāmoa Beach 892
Mount Maunganui 554
Pyes Pa 307
Welcome Bay 244
Western Bay of Plenty:
Te Puke 125
Waihi Beach 87
Te Puke 284
Waihi Beach 138
Te Puke 176
Waihi Beach 153
Te Puke 153
Waihi Beach 92
SUBURB SALES: BY THE DOLLARS
Mount Maunganui $333,320,129
Pāpāmoa Beach $262,444,129
Mount Maunganui $475,704,100
Pāpāmoa Beach $403,897,351
Pyes Pa $144,879,385
Mount Maunganui $542,700,192
Pāpāmoa Beach $494,411,052
Welcome Bay $181,726,777
Pāpāmoa Beach $543,123,714
Mount Maunganui $480,130,561
Pyes Pa $192,078,332
Welcome Bay $133,220,341
Western Bay of Plenty:
Waihi Beach $44,944,737
Te Puke $38,510,466
Te Puke $93,724,700
Waihi Beach $66,841,085
Waihi Beach $86,879,938
Te Puke $73,248,700
Te Puke $74,090,556
Waihi Beach $67,753,400
Source: Real Estate Institute of New Zealand