Rotorua is continuing to see big increases in house values across all suburbs - with Western Heights the stand-out performer with a jump in median value of more than 20 per cent.

Real estate agents believe the combination of solid homes, its location and good aspect and houses with potential for renovation are behind the growing attractiveness of the suburb.

QV's quarterly analysis of North Island Property Values shows Western Heights experienced the biggest change of any Rotorua suburb in the 12 months to the end of March.

The median value of a Western Heights property increased 20.3 per cent to $199,750.


Lynmore was the most highly valued suburb with a median value of $449,950, after a 12.2 per cent increase in the year to March. The lowest was Fordlands with a median value of $129,300 as at the end of March, although the yearly change was unavailable.

Professionals McDowell Real Estate Rotorua owner Steve Lovegrove said Rotorua was being perceived as "the next frontier of value".

"Western Heights geographically is an attractive area, some of those properties have nice views."

He said prospective buyers saw a good opportunity to add value.

"There are some nice family homes with some nice outlooks."

He said those who did not have a "traditional viewpoint of the Rotorua market" already found the suburb attractive, and many locals were taken by surprise with what the area had to offer.

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First National principal Ann Crossley said she believed the top three suburbs reflected the fact investors were re-entering the market.

"They are driving the more modest end and also the first home buyers.

"The Western Heights development was done in the 1960s and the houses are just really good, solid family homes."

Investors were seeing the merit in the homes because they were solidly built and many had decent sized backyards, she said. People also saw the potential to add a second dwelling on to some.

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said as demand increased, prices increased.

"Those suburbs [Western Heights, Fairy Springs and Mangakakahi] have clearly been seen by buyers as representing good value and that increased interest has driven prices. They are also strong investor suburbs and close to town for commuters."

Kristin Tauava has lived in Western Heights her whole life and said she loved it. She and her husband bought their home in the suburb 10 years ago and were raising four boys there.

"We think it's a great suburb, everyone's friendly and it was affordable when we went to buy our house.

"It's got a good mix of people and is a good place to raise our boys. They go to the local Christian school, St Michael's Catholic School."

She said she loved the local shops and always went to the Four Square to get her "bits and pieces".

Patric Pious, has manager of Western Heights Four Square for the past four years. "We have good customers and we love our regulars."

- Additional reporting Kyra Dawson