Queenstown homes now more expensive than Auckland

Queenstown has leapfrogged Auckland as the country's most expensive place to buy a house.

New figures from realestate.co.nz show the average asking price in the Central Otago/Lakes district is now $1,010,021, up 7.5 percent on January.

Auckland however has stalled on $960,715 - showing no increase at all over the past month.

Spokesperson Vanessa Taylor said the southern region's average was boosted by "some top-end properties hitting the market in the Queenstown district".

"Across the country there is an ongoing see-saw for the top spot in average asking price between the Central Otago/Lakes region and the Auckland region."

Asking prices nationwide fell 2.8 percent to $675,727, led by huge drops in Nelson (-7.6 percent), Taranaki (-5 percent) and Otago (-3.3 percent).

All-time highs were recorded in Waikato ($609,771), Gisborne ($445,938), Central North Island ($498,380) and Manawatu/Whanganui ($387,122).

Average asking prices in February 2019.
Average asking prices in February 2019. Photo credit: realestate.co.nz

Ms Taylor says the small drop overall was due to January's average asking price hitting an all-time high.

"The New Zealand property market is in a good place and there was a sense of relative stability during the month of February.

The total number of homes available was down, but only marginally, dropping 0.3 percent on February 2018 to 26,850. Five years ago there were more than 41,000.

"Unlike the Australian situation, where there's reportedly a long-term high in the number of properties sitting on the market, that's not the case here in New Zealand," said Ms Taylor.

"We've been through the heady days of frantic activity and uncertainty and we have found our new normal. It's characterised by a steady market, stable pricing and a pragmatic approach by buyers and sellers."

The cheapest place to buy remains the West Coast of the South Island, were prices fell 0.4 percent to $283,051. Southland comes next, down 1.2 percent to $327,915.

The capital was down too, 1.6 percent to $653,186.

Outside of Auckland and Central Otago/Lakes, the next-most expensive region is Coromandel, where the average asking price is $719,684.