Regional New Zealand sees solid house price growth, Auckland drops slightly - QV data

New Zealand's smaller provincial towns are seeing solid increases in house prices while Auckland's growth has slipped slightly, according to Quotable Value (QV).

On Wednesday, QV released its February House Price Index, which showed national property prices grew by 0.7 percent over the last three months to a national average value of $686,050.

That value is also up 3 percent from this time last year.

Hastings saw the greatest growth, with house prices increasing by 9.9 percent in the February quarter, followed by Napier with a 5.2 percent increase.

Over the last year, Hastings values rose 13.2 percent and Napier's growth was 12.5 percent.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton told The AM Show it was a testament to a strong economy.

"The real driver is the strength in the economy. Our commodity prices are good, our tourism numbers are up, everything is going in our favour at the moment," he said.

He said tourists were coming to the region for attractions and events, with many off cruise ships, and falling in love with the place.

"They are coming and saying, 'man, this is a place where we could live,' and they are moving down here," said Mr Dalton.

"We are pretty proud of what is happening in Hawke's Bay at the moment - Hawke's Bay is on a roll."

QV's figures show the biggest quarterly drop was in Whangarei with a 3.8 percent decrease, while Auckland saw a slight dip of 0.6 percent to an average value of $1,044,576.

Auckland's year-on-year growth dropped by 0.9 percent.

Mr Dalton said high Auckland prices could push Aucklanders to Hawke's Bay.

"There is a bit of [locals being priced out of the market] and certainly, I have got kids in Auckland who would love to come back to Hawke's Bay"

QV's general manager said the figures painted a mixed picture nationally.

"On the one hand, we've got more affordable, smaller provincial towns who are still in their upward growth stage, while the likes of Auckland are much further down their growth lifecycle and now seeing values flatten after a period of sustained value growth."

He told Newshub that news was slowly getting better for first-home buyers.

"I think there are opportunities for first-home buyers, but they have to be a little bit less choosy about the locations they have to purchase the property in.

"They might not be able to buy in a central area in one of the main centres," he said.

On Monday, property company Barfoot & Thompson said lower rates of sales in February suggested that the Auckland market was becoming a buyers' market.

"The market is progressively hardening into a buyers' market with a number of vendors preferring to take their property off the market when they cannot achieve their asking price," managing director Peter Thompson said.