The draw of Central Hawke's Bay as a "go-to" destination for big city retirees wanting million-dollar properties appears to be behind an $85,000 jump in the price for lifestyle blocks across wider Hawke's Bay.
Latest data from the Real Estate Institute showed the median value of a rural lifestyle property in Hawke's Bay is now $285,140, after prices jumped 30 per cent over the three months ended October 2016 and the three months ending October 2017.
Only Otago (+34%) and Wellington (+34%) recorded larger rises.
REINZ regional director Mark Coffey said Hawke's Bay was becoming a "go to place" for people "cashing up" in Wellington and Auckland, with lifestyle block sales running at one a day.
"I think from my observation I have certainly seen a bit of movement gravitation to that region, with lifestyle and houses. It's been coming down from Auckland with those people cashing up and Hawke's Bay seems to be one of the go-to places. People are looking to the future to retirement-type living.
"I know one of our own Wellington-based team has pre-purchased a fairly significant lifestyle property with the aim of retiring to Hawkes Bay. It's certainly a destination people are gravitating to at the moment."
Although Hawke's Bay's median price was $40,000 more than Wellington, it was well below the median Auckland price, which hit $777,000.
Mr Coffey said in the last month alone there were five sales of lifestyle blocks here that went for $1m or more.
"The most expensive lifestyle block last month was in Tauroa Rd and that was a lifestyle block that sold for $1.45m and had 6900 square metres.
"In total there were 29 lifestyle blocks sold in Hawke's Bay last month. That's a good number, that's pretty steady and it's nearly one a day, which is fairly significant."
Harcourts real estate agent Michael Harding said central Hawke's Bay in particular was driving rising prices.
"Lifestyle blocks north of Waipukurau and Waipawa will command a higher price and are normally easier to sell as there is greater demand due to the fact they are within commuting distance of Hastings and Napier.
"There has been an increase in buyers for both residential and lifestyle in Central Hawkes Bay. This has also increased the traffic on the roads between the towns to the cities as a consequence.
"Our prices have been seen as better value for money and more affordable than those close to Hastings and Napier."
Tremains owner Simon Tremain there had always been a good supply of lifestyle properties in the region but demand was growing now because they were seen as more affordable.
"There have been quite a few lifestyle subdivisions progressed over the last 10 years. I guess we've had lots of options but not as many buyers.
"When you go lifestyle, you are normally looking at the higher end with a nice bit of land and normally a newer house.
"The old days of an old farmhouse on a few acres are few and far between."