A house in the process of being sold has been destroyed by fire in Northland.

The 96-year-old house in Valley Rd, Hikurangi, 15km north of Whangarei, was destroyed by the fire which started about 12.30am today.

Hikurangi volunteer firefighters were quick to respond and started housing down a neighbouring house that was about to ignite. The owner of the house was on night shift but said final settlement for the single story weatherboard house was next Friday.

A fire investigator said the likely cause of the blaze was faulty wiring due to rats.