The number of sales in Auckland suburbs typically considered less desirable are growing at a faster rate than their usually sought-after neighbours.
The Real Estate Institute has compared sales data from the past four years for Remuera, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Mt Eden and Pt Chevalier with the areas around them.
As the prices skyrocket in those suburbs - considered the city's most desirable because of school zoning, proximity to town, views and calibre of housing - Aucklanders are settling for houses just outside the boundaries in areas not so much favoured.
The biggest difference was between Ponsonby and Kingsland, with the former decreasing in sales by 30 per cent and the latter increasing by 75 per cent.
In the country's most expensive suburb of Herne Bay, the number of sales grew by just 3.1 per cent in the past four years, while neighbouring Western Springs grew by 16.6 per cent.
Pt Chevalier saw a 22.4 per cent rise, while Mt Albert grew 32 per cent.
The number of sales in Remuera grew by just 9.1 per cent, compared with its neighbours Meadowbank and Ellerslie, which grew 34 and 30 per cent respectively.
Mt Eden was still popular, growing 19.5 per cent but it was doing slightly worse than its neighbours Kingsland and Sandringham, which grew 75 and 22 per cent.
The data also looked at the popular North Shore suburbs of Milford, Birkenhead and Northcote.
Milford, which grew 12.5 per cent, was outdone by its neighbours Sunnynook and Forrest Hill, which grew 28 and 23.6 per cent.
Birkenhead was outdone by its neighbour Glenfield at twice the rate - 19.6 per cent compared with 41.8 per cent.
Northcote also borders Glenfield and fell short at 17.1 per cent.
Bayleys real estate agent Keith Ward, who sells homes across Auckland, said the best performing suburbs in the last couple of years were Greenlane, Ellerslie, Penrose and Onehunga.
"Although they might not be considered the best suburbs historically, the ripple effect from the central city moves out and pushes people out of suburbs they can't afford, like Grey Lynn, Sandringham, Ponsonby, Remuera, Parnell."
REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said school zones had a big influence on what made a suburb more popular - a pocket in Mt Wellington had shot up in price because it was in the zone for decile 9 Stonefields School.
The drivers were proximity to transport routes and to the city.
"There's also a trendy factor. People like to live in places they think reflect their values," she said.
"You'll find that Ponsonby has a certain cachet about it and people like to live there because it's seen as hip and trendy.
"But they also like to live there because it's close to entertainment and shopping."
Widening home search helps
Clinton and Taryn Green longed to buy a house in Ellerslie but couldn't find anything in their price range.
"We were looking everywhere, we looked on the [North] Shore, we looked out west.
"We tried to get in around the city fringes, like Ellerslie. It was just too pricey ... we could have got a small place but it would have been compromising too much."
The couple, both in their 30s, happily settled on a three-bedroom home in Botany Downs for $570,000.
Ellerslie had been the suburb of choice as it was close to Mr Green's work. He works as a computer programmer in Mt Wellington and his wife is a researcher in Grafton.
"We looked at a three-bedroom place on Marua Rd, it wasn't anything special, and that place went for $670,000."
"We found a place that ticks all the boxes ... it's three-bedroom, it has a big garden, it's a good-sized place."