The Auckland holiday hotspot where house prices have plummeted 17 percent

Houses in a popular Waiheke Island suburb are going for $184,000 less than they did 12 months ago, new real estate data shows, in a year when properties in most other holiday hotspots surged.

An analysis from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows median property prices in Onetangi, on the northern side of the island, have plummeted 17 percent in the year since November 2019.

REINZ says this is likely because many properties on Waiheke are used as Airbnb homes, which wouldn't have seen the same returns this year, prompting owners to sell.

But Onetangi is in the minority of holiday destinations to have fallen in value, with Coromandel (-11 percent) and Te Anau (-3 percent) the only other locations out of the 30 analysed to have seen property values drop.

A handful of areas - Hahei, Huntingdon, Kaiteriteri and Russell - saw no change in value, but the vast majority saw median house prices surge.

Among the biggest increases is Akaroa - a popular holiday destination for Christchurch residents - which saw property values skyrocket a jaw-dropping 58 percent in the last year, with median prices now sitting at $830,000.

Waihi Beach in the northern Bay of Plenty also jumped 50 percent to over $1 million, while Hokitika (41 percent rise), Mangawhai (28 percent), Arrowtown (27 percent), Mt Maunganui (25 percent) and Taupo (25 percent) all experienced marked increases in value.

Properties in Omaha - New Zealand's most expensive holiday hotspot - also increased, with median house prices in the area north of Auckland lifting another 22 percent in the last year to $2.15 million. However this was down from its peak of $2.35 million for the three months ending in April.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell says it's clear from the data that this year's COVID-19 lockdowns have only cemented beach destinations as part of Kiwi culture.

"Demand has increased in 2020. This comes as no surprise, considering overseas holidays aren't an option for many New Zealanders this year, and Kiwis are instead looking to our own shores for a more long-term option," she said.

"Additionally, with the various lockdowns that New Zealanders have experienced this year, we've noticed that individuals and families have taken a closer look at their living situations and some have decided that they now have the option to relocate to a beach-side destination and work remotely, or have a secondary/holiday home that they can 'escape' to."

House prices have rocketed almost everywhere in New Zealand this year, with median house prices countrywide now above $760,000 and in Auckland above $1 million.

It has become a hot political topic in the latter half of this year as the Labour Government comes under pressure to get the rising prices under control, with Treasury predicting house prices will increase another 8.5 percent in 2021 unless something is done.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has promised the Government will make an announcement on housing early next year.