Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

House prices up and Auckland gets another $2m+ suburb

St Mary's Bay in Auckland has just joined neighbouring suburb Herne Bay (pictured) and now has an average value of more than $2m. Photo / Brett Phibbs
St Mary's Bay in Auckland has just joined neighbouring suburb Herne Bay (pictured) and now has an average value of more than $2m. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Soaring house prices have seen a second Auckland suburb click over the $2 million mark, with only five suburbs left with an average price under the $500,000 considered affordable.

Figures due for release tomorrow in the QV quarterly Property Report show the exclusive waterfront suburb of St Mary's Bay has joined swanky neighbour Herne Bay in the $2m club.

St Mary's Bay had been on the cusp of an average house price of $2m for months and reached $2,055,350 in June. It has now risen another $14,850 to $2,070,200.

Andrea Rush from QV said St Mary's Bay's proximity to Herne Bay guaranteed it was going to be the next $2m suburb.

In tomorrow's Herald: What's your home's new value? Don't miss the Property Report

"Like Herne Bay, it features not only spectacular harbour views but some large historic homes," Rush said.

"It is less than a 10-minute drive to the city centre, is serviced by very good public transport and it's an easy walk to the Ponsonby shopping and café precinct."

The next suburb to reach $2m is a tightly contested battle between Remuera on $1,869,400, Stanley Point on Auckland's North Shore on $1,817,050 and Epsom on $1,802,250.

The QV data also reveals there are now a staggering 90 Auckland suburbs out of 210 that have an average price of more than $1m.

The average price in Auckland is $992,207 according to and should hit $1m soon.

Values across the city have been increasing by 15 per cent year on year.

House prices have long been described as being at crisis level with many Aucklanders leaving the city because of affordability issues.

In 2007 there were 80 suburbs with an average value under $500,000.

Now there are just five with two of those - Grafton and Manukau - just a few hundred dollars away from hitting the mark.

The others - Wellsford and Parakai - are a long commute from Auckland and have poor transport links. Auckland Central's average of $472,500 is only low because of the high level of apartment stock.

The new figures come just three months after Prime Minister John Key said there were "quite a few" homes available in the Auckland region for $500,000 or less being advertised online.

In 2007 there were 80 suburbs with an average value of less than $500,000 - now there are five. Photo / Michael Craig
In 2007 there were 80 suburbs with an average value of less than $500,000 - now there are five. Photo / Michael Craig

A review of Trade Me discovered 1253 listings, of which just 345 were houses, including a fifth which were homes for relocation or removal.

And on Friday, Key told Auckland would-be first-home buyers they should look to buy apartments, as growing numbers do in Australia.

In the new QV data, previously affordable suburbs such as Otara, Mangere and Manurewa were $543,450, $641,050 and $624,800 respectively with values in all three suburbs rising around 18 per cent in the past year.

More than 16 suburbs had seen growth of more than 100 per cent since 2007.

Rush said growth was especially strong in suburbs around good school zones, especially on Auckland's North Shore.

"Previously lower valued North Shore suburbs of Forrest Hill, Sunnynook and Hillcrest have seen a meteoric rise of more than 100 per cent since the previous peak of 2007, well above the Auckland average since the GFC [global financial crisis]," Rush said.

Data from the E-valuer shows Forrest Hill has risen 111.7 per cent from $551,200 to $1,176,750; Hillcrest is up 106.7 per cent from $490,500 to $1,029,750 - now joining the million-dollar club - and Sunnynook values have jumped 107.4 per cent over the same period with the average value there now $988,500 up from $473,900 in 2007.

Rush said the single-sex schools of Westlake Boys and Girls made the area a popular choice.

"These suburbs are particularly popular with Chinese buyers including new migrants keen to gain entry into the prized Westlake Boys School zone and this demand is reflected in the high value growth there," Rush said.

"Mt Eden and Mt Albert have also seen strong growth compared to other centrally located suburbs and this could also be due to their grammar school zonings for AGGS [Auckland Girls Grammar] and MAGS [Mt Albert Grammar]."

The previously affordable suburbs of Glen Innes, Wai o Taiki Bay and Point England had seen staggering growth of around 126 per cent since 2007.

The average price in Wai o Taiki Bay was now $1,158,450. In 2007 the average house in the area, which is close to Glendowie, was $528,6000.

Rush said the leap in value in the east Auckland area could be explained by the Tamaki Regeneration Project which will see 2800 state houses transformed into 7500 new dwellings over the next 15 years.

"This project is already leading to value increases in the suburbs of Glen Innes, Point England and Wai o Taiki Bay," Rush said.

"Proximity to transport is also a factor in this with these suburbs having access to the rail network and being only a 12-minute train ride from downtown Auckland."

Barfoot & Thompson director Kiri Barfoot said it was no surprise the Auckland market had risen so dramatically, citing weekly migration to the region of about 800 people.

But she said there were recent signs the heat was coming out of the market and activity was starting to slow.

"We have had less people at some auctions and to open homes, and others see that and it sends a wait and see message," she said.

She added recent changes to the LVR had cut some people off but suggested it might only be for the short term.

"It slows things for a while but then people find a way around it like they borrow money from family."

- Herald on Sunday

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