Wellington is leading the way in cooling house prices, with a drop in asking prices for the first time in five months.

The New Zealand property market remained almost static in February after the national average asking price fell just 0.6 per cent in January to $626,050, according to the latest Trade Me Property price index.

But average asking prices for the capital dropped more than 1 per cent last month, landing at $562,250, head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said.

The fall comes after a few "pretty hot" months.


"Typically we see prices spike in February, but 2018 has bucked the trend," Jeffries said.

"Buyers in Wellington will be smiling through gritted teeth with a dip in asking prices and a 4 per cent increase in the number of properties for sale. It's a nice change for first home buyers after months of little stock and record asking prices.

"However, it doesn't look like prices will drop much further. We're still seeing fierce demand for properties in the capital with the number of views up 10 per cent on last year."

However, it wasn't all drops - large houses with five or more bedrooms in Wellington reached a record asking price in February of $1,003,000 following a solid annual increase of 27.6 per cent.

"Small houses - one to two bedrooms - in the capital also hit a new high in February, climbing a hefty 20.2 per cent to $478,650," Jeffries said.

Meanwhile Auckland's average asking price came to a halt last month, falling just 0.1 per cent on January and rising 0.5 per cent on last year to $910,750.

"Buyers in the Super City will be relieved this month as prices continue to slow. Demand for property in Auckland is well below the region's February 2016 peak and it seems for the first time in a while, buyers are in the prime position."

Provincial New Zealand was running hot outside the three main centres, with the average asking price reaching a new record, up 1.1 per cent on January to $499,300.

"Property prices in the Hawke's Bay, Manawatu and Marlborough all reached new records in February after experiencing solid double-digit growth.

"The Hawke's Bay property market has been a star performer lately and in February we saw an annual increase of 16 per cent to a record asking price of $527,100. Property in Manawatu and Marlborough followed close behind, both up 15 per cent respectively to new highs of $328,400 and $477,800."

Property in the North Island was in hot demand with 51 per cent more views for property in Taranaki and a 31 per cent increase in Manawatu.

"Outside Auckland, small houses - one to two bedrooms - reached another record high in February following an annual increase of 7.7 per cent to $360,750. Large houses - five plus bedrooms - outside the Super City also experienced a new record rising 11.3 per cent to $826,250 in the last year," Jeffries said.

Units in Auckland scaled new heights in February, up 2.9 per cent to a record asking price of $635,650.

"Units are becoming increasingly popular in our largest city, particularly for first home buyers eager to get a foot on the property ladder. Townhouses and apartments in Wellington experienced a steady increase on last February, climbing 5.9 and 6.4 per cent respectively."