Surging inner city apartment sales have seen Auckland Central crowned the city's hottest suburb with its median sales price doubling in the last 18 months, new figures show.

But West Auckland is an area to watch, with six western suburbs cementing their place among the city's 20 "hot spots" as first home buyers and investors drive up prices.

Figures released exclusively to the Weekend Herald by Auckland's biggest real estate company Barfoot & Thompson show hundreds of people are either selling up existing homes and purchasing down-sized luxury properties off the plans, or buying entry level downtown apartments to get a foot on the property ladder.

Barfoot assessed its own sales data for the six months between August 2015 and January 2016 compared with the same period the previous year. The company, which handles about one-in-three house sales across Auckland, calculated the 20 suburbs with the biggest percentage median price growth.


The data shows the number of Auckland Central sales jumped from 172 to 408 with the suburb's median price skyrocketing from $263,250 to $544,000 - a 106.6 per cent jump.

Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson said the figures were in step with the growing popularity of inner-city living and a surge in apartment construction, such as those at Wynyard Quarter and Beach Rd.

"Sales activity in apartments has grown considerably, with both completed homes and those available for purchase off the plans gaining lots of interest from first home buyers, investors and luxury down-sizers alike," Mr Thompson said.

"With all this new development has come a new generation of apartments, with a greater focus on design and lifestyle and, in turn, a higher price point."

The Barfoot figures back up data released this week by Auckland Council showing 5460 people had moved into the central city in the past year.

Outside the central city, recognised hotspots Sandringham and New Lynn took out second and third place, with respective median price growth of 69.4 per cent and 47.2 per cent.

A standard Sandringham home rose in value from $676,000 to well beyond $1 million, while New Lynn moved from $451,750 to $665,000.

"Sandringham offers city fringe living, with many villas and a village feel, while continued investment in New Lynn transport links, housing options, shopping and entertainment has put it firmly on the map."

Twelve suburbs were new to the top 20 list, with those in West Auckland among the biggest movers.

Alongside New Lynn, another five West Auckland suburbs featured in the top 20 - more than any other Auckland region.

They included West Harbour (4th with 39.3 per cent growth), Kelston (9th/33.7 per cent), Massey (13th/31.8 per cent), Royal Heights (16th/27.5 per cent) and Glen Eden (18th/26.1 per cent).

However, Milford - the number one hot spot during the last survey - was the worst performer this time around, posting a 2.8 per cent decline in median price to $1.04 million, followed by Flat Bush (-1.3 per cent/$847,000), Tuakau (2.6 per cent/$449,000), Albany (3.6 per cent/$930,000) and Parnell (4.4 per cent/$913,500).

Mr Thompson said the data would help buyers and sellers analyse their local market, assessing where demand was strongest and which suburbs provided value for money.

Real Estate Institute chief executive Colleen Milne said Auckland city apartment sales had become more popular.

"Apartment living can be a great solution for those wanting to be in central Auckland as there is less travel time to work, usually no gardens to tend to and often there are communal facilities provided such as gyms and pools which all adds to the convenience of apartment living."