Auckland's runaway house prices have made an average home in the city more expensive than Sydney.
Figures supplied exclusively to the Herald by property data company CoreLogic show the average Auckland dwelling costs $931,000, compared to $913,000 in Sydney.
CoreLogic analyst Nick Goodall said Auckland's rapid house price inflation had finally made the city less attractive to buy in than its transtasman neighbour, after years of representing good value for money to international buyers.
In 2012, the average Auckland home (including apartments) cost $555,000, 25 per cent cheaper than Sydney.
Now that property is more expensive in nearly all the main currencies used by international buyers, except US dollars, by a small margin.
Mr Goodall said the average Auckland home had increased in price by just over two-thirds in NZ dollars since 2012, more than twice the increase in the average Sydney price.
But in Australian dollars Auckland prices had almost doubled - bad news for Kiwis returning home after a spell working across the Tasman.
"If you were one of those people that were living in Australia and earning Australian dollars for the last four years, it's more expensive for them than it is for someone earning NZ dollars."
Meanwhile, research shows investors are buying up to 80 per cent of cheaper properties in Auckland.
The analysis of council sales records by Dr Michael Rehm and Ozgur Yildrim of Auckland University, published in NZ Property Professional magazine, found investors bought 41 per cent of all free-standing residential home sales in the first half of last year.
But they bought 80 per cent of all free-standing residential home sales in Otara, one of Auckland's cheapest suburbs.
The same pattern occurred in apartment and unit sales, where investors accounted for 54 per cent of sales on average across Auckland, and 81 per cent in Newmarket.
The authors commented: "These numbers suggest a degree of investor overcrowding and a high amount of investor consumption of starter homes, which results in increased competition between investors and first-time buyers."