THE average value of Wairarapa homes has increased over the past year with South Wairarapa experiencing the biggest jump in values.

Masterton values were up 3 per cent last December on the previous one to $243,648, according to Quotable Value (QV).

Carterton values were up 2 per cent to $265,700 and South Wairarapa values were up 6.3 per cent to $316,877.

Harcourts managing director Prue Hamill said Martinborough in South Wairarapa had a good turnover of property last month, with 11 sales.

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Sales had also been steady in Masterton with out-of-towners as well as locals buying properties.

Ms Hamill said it was good to see sections selling in the area, because it meant building would happen, which was good for development.

She said first-home buyers were returning to the market, which also helped growth and turnover.

Harcourts was continually looking for properties to meet that first-home buyer market.

Ms Hamill said the Auckland market had now slowed and the Wairarapa market had stabilised and was moving ahead.

Trade Me figures showed the average asking price for a Wairarapa property was $317,400 last December, up 2.6 per cent on the previous December.

Nationwide, the residential property values surged ahead in the year to December 2015, according to QV.

Residential property values increased 14.2 per cent from $488,674 in December 2014 to $558,146 in December 2015.

The average national value increased 2.9 per cent over the final three months of 2015.

Home values in the Auckland region increased 22.5 per cent year-on-year. They rose 4.1 per cent over the past three months of the year but only 0.2 per cent over the final month of the year.

QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said massive increases in Auckland home values during the first nine months of 2015 led the Government and the Reserve Bank to announce mid-year that they would introduce measures to curb Auckland investors.

"These huge hikes in home values and pending restrictions on investors saw many look to move or invest outside of the Auckland region for more affordable homes or better rental yields during 2015.

"This resulted in an increase in activity and demand in previously slow housing markets in upper and central North Island centres, including Tauranga."

According to CoreLogic, the movement of Aucklanders to Tauranga had been steadily increasing since 2012 when they accounted for just 12 per cent of movers, increasing to 30 per cent by the end of last year.