Competition to buy a home in Rotorua may be heating up but one former Auckland couple say the move here was well worth the effort.

According to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures released yesterday, 130 homes sold in Rotorua in December compared to 73 in December 2014 - a 78 per cent increase. The average number of days to sell a house dropped by 10 days, from 41 days in December 2014 to 31 last month.

Mark and Heather McCarron bought a house in Glenholme in December because they wanted a change of lifestyle. The couple had been living in Auckland for seven years, working and raising daughter Hannah.

"With having to juggle work and traffic, our little one was in childcare a lot and to go down to one salary in Auckland would have meant our lifestyle would have changed," Mr McCarron said.


Mr McCarron said he transferred to Rotorua, his wife was now a fulltime mum and they were loving it.

It surprised us how much competition there was [for a house], we were looking for a long time.


"We thought it would be easy, but there wasn't a lot on the market and there was a lot of competition," he said.

Mr McCarron said they looked at about 10 houses and at some of the open homes they were told on arrival the house was already under offer. He said they missed out on one house and learned they would have to move quicker next time if they wanted to buy.

"Once we were happy we just quickly made the offer and then boom! Got it," Mr McCarron said.

Former Aucklanders Mark and Heather McCarron and their 2-year-old daughter Hannah are delighted with their move to Rotorua. Photo / Andrew Warner
Former Aucklanders Mark and Heather McCarron and their 2-year-old daughter Hannah are delighted with their move to Rotorua. Photo / Andrew Warner

Ray White Rotorua co-owner and principal Anita Martelli said with solicitors shutting down for a couple of weeks over Christmas, the January sales figures could be even higher.

"There is a period where people are waiting around because they can't get their lawyers to go through the paperwork with them. Because of this January could be quite high as it will have some of the 'December' sales."

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Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which operates Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said the results continued the positive picture seen over 2015. "I think it will continue at this higher level, but how much higher? Who knows. There has been a lot of awareness of the Bay of Plenty with Rotorua being a big part of that."

Ian McDowell, from The Professionals McDowell Real Estate, said December and January were generally slow months, but December was very good and January was looking "really good". "We have had a lot of out-of-town buyers and a flow-down effect from Auckland. I think it's because we have well-priced houses, good areas and a great lifestyle in Rotorua."

Rotorua houses sold:

* December 2015: 130

* November 2015: 149

* December 2014: 73

Rotorua days to sell:

* December 2015: 31

* November 2015: 33

* December 2014: 41

Rotorua median price:

* December 2015:

* November 2015:

* December 2014:

- Real Estate Institute of New Zealand