Agents say Rotorua's buoyant property market is making it tough for home buyers, with one comparing the situation to Auckland four years ago.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures for March released yesterday showed 175 houses sold in Rotorua last month, a 65 per cent jump on the 106 sold in March last year and a further increase on the 137 sold in February.

Often contracts are on a house within a week, and many buyers are facing multi-offer situations to get the home they're after, according to local real estate agents.

Median days to sell had dropped to 29 last month compared with 52 the previous March. The median price for March was $270,000, up 2.8 per cent on March 2015.


While the figures are good news for sellers such as Claire O'Connor, it also means those looking to buy are having to make fast decisions to avoid missing out on properties they love.

Ms O'Connor sold a Sumner St property in March that she had inherited from her parents. The Aucklander, who moved to Rotorua after her mother died to act as a "flatmate" to her elderly dad, decided to sell up after he died last December.

Ms O'Connor said the property was initially listed for tender, but was snapped up within about 10 days of being put on at a fixed price listing.

The flip side was when Ms O'Connor found a Hamurana property she wanted to buy to use as a holiday home.

"It was very quick. I saw it advertised on Tuesday afternoon, on Wednesday I saw it at 10am, went back at 1pm and decided I was going to buy it."

First National principal and Rotorua REINZ spokeswoman Ann Crossley said the latest figures were "outstanding". She said the median days taken to sell had "come crashing down".

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While it was 29 days, Mrs Crossley said in reality the contracts were on far quicker than that. She said it was fair to say it was a difficult market to buy in.

"If you spoke to most buyers they would have been in at least one or two multiple offer situations where they have missed out. It's tougher on buyers."

Mrs Crossley said, in many cases, properties had multiple offers after just one open home.

"On some properties it's fair to say we are trying to slow it down so that as many as possible can see the property so allowing the market to self correct."

Professionals McDowell Rotorua owner Steve Lovegrove said it was Rotorua's time.

Mr Lovegrove said he started planning to leave Auckland about a year ago because he could see the potential in Rotorua. "I feel like I have travelled back in time four years - this is exactly the sort of thing that happened in Auckland in 2012."

Eves Rotorua sales manager Tony Stack said there were a wide range of reasons the property market was so buoyant in Rotorua - including investors as well as people trading up and trading down within Rotorua, and first home buyers looking to get in to the property market.

Mr Stack said it could still be tough finding properties, but there was stock coming on the market which was important to make sure it was sustainable.

Ray White Rotorua co-owner and principal Anita Martelli said it had been "very busy".

She said low interest rates were encouraging people to move up a step in housing, and said there were also lots of first home buyers.

Rotorua March sales:

* 175 houses sold

* Up 65 per cent from March 2015 (106 sold)

* Median price $270,000

* Up from $262,550 in March 2015