House prices in and around Queenstown are soaring, narrowing the price gap between Central Otago and Auckland.
Nationwide, average asking prices for houses were down last month, but Central Otago and the Waikato bucked the trend, according to new data from the Realestate.co.nz website.
The new asking prices were revealed as house supply across New Zealand was at near-record lows.
Vanessa Taylor, spokeswoman for Realestate.co.nz, said yesterday the average asking price in Central Otago had passed $800,000 for the first time.
The region, including Queenstown and other settlements around Lake Wakatipu, was the most expensive after Auckland.
Ms Taylor said the average price in Central Otago was $824,394, well up on July 2014's figure of $782,684.
That was just $24,000 less than the average asking price in Auckland.
In the country's biggest city, asking prices peaked at $851,531 in September, but had fallen about $3,350 since then.
The average asking price in Wellington was $475,422, down from a record high of $479,399 in August.
Realestate.co.nz said average asking prices in Auckland and the capital had levelled off in recent months, but only slightly.
In November, the Quotable Value (QV) house price index showed the average home in Auckland's eastern suburbs cost 6.2 per cent more than three months earlier, to reach $1,344,454.
But Jan O'Donoghue, QV home value operations manager, said at the time activity was easing due to policies aimed at curbing investors in the Auckland market.
From October, new rules meant anyone selling a residential property that was not their main home within two years of buying would face tax on the capital gain.
Meanwhile, Realestate.co.nz site said average asking prices in the Waikato rose to $414,596 last month, up about $1500 from November's levels.
It was a different story in Canterbury, where the average asking price fell slightly last month, to $450,740.
Realestate.co.nz said the national average asking price in December was $522,930, down from a record high of $568,215 four months earlier.
The website said in total, there were 8011 new listings across New Zealand last month. That was 3.3 per cent less than in December 2014.
Auckland and Canterbury both had 6.6 per cent fewer listings last month than in December 2014.
Wellington experienced a dramatic drop of 24.5 per cent over the same period.