A_TW220216NADFLY394.JPG: Families from Wellington have become increasingly interested in buying houses in Whangarei in the past six months.
PHOTO/TANIA WHYTE.

Earthquake-wary Wellingtonians seeking some stability are the latest players in Whangarei's booming property market where prices have risen on average nearly 23 per cent in the past year.

The latest monthly QV house price index shows nationwide residential property values for February increased 13.5 per cent over the past year but when adjusted to inflation, the annual increase dropped slightly to 12 per cent.

Kaipara saw the biggest increase in house values of 25.3 per cent in the past 12 months to February this year, with the average current value at $470,913.

In Whangarei, the average value of a house is $468,033 - a 19.4 per cent annual increase, while a 20.8 per cent hike in the Far North has pushed the average to $399,780.

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Graham Lester of Maggie Dixon real estate in Whangarei said before the Loan to Value Ratio (LVR) restrictions the Reserve Bank put in place kicked in late last year, Auckland investors were buying properties in Northland and now that interest has extended further south.

"We've had a lot of people come up from Wellington to settle in Whangarei since the earthquakes became more pronounced. Also, they've had the worst summer and we've had the best."

Mr Lester said he could not divulge how many families from Wellington have bought houses in Whangarei recently because of commercial sensitivity but said there have been several in the past six months.

"A lot have families up here and some have well established jobs or businesses and can easily relocate and work remotely."

He said with so much development on the Northland housing front, coupled with a population increase, the region was poised to do well in the housing market in future.

The latest trend in houses prices in Northland and more people moving north would regrettably put further squeeze on first-home buyers, he said.

Paul Beazley of L J Hooker Whangarei said properties in Whangarei were still reasonably-priced even though the value of houses has increased.

Kaipara Mayor Greg Gent said the east with areas like Mangawhai and the western towns of Dargaville and Ruawai have different buying and selling trends.

He said although Mangawhai was doing well particularly for Auckland buyers, the western towns were increasingly popular for retirees wanting a quieter life.

The Government's migration policy, he said, would have a huge effect on house prices in Kaipara as well as Northland.

According to QV, regions in the North Island to see the highest percentage value growth over the past three months were Kaipara, Far North, Rangitikei and Kawerau with house prices up more than 8 per cent over the past three months.