Borrowing restrictions appear to have eased pressure on Auckland's housing market and most suburbs on the North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau have dropped in value - but not enough for aspiring first time buyers.

Only eight suburbs in the city sit below the $600,000 price cap for first home buyers to be eligible for a KiwiSaver grant on an existing home - down four in the last quarter ending in December.

Meanwhile, the latest QV Property Report out today showed 22 suburbs with an E-valuer estimated median of $1.5m plus, and four suburbs that have tipped the $2m mark.

QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said the CoreLogic data indicated first home buyers were now "priced out" of Auckland's market.


"First home buyers in Auckland are reportedly facing stricter lending criteria from the banks following the latest round of LVR restrictions."

The CoreLogic data showed Auckland's cheapest suburb was Wellsford with an estimated median value of $487,150 at January 31, more than an hour north of the CBD.

This was followed by the apartment-rich suburb of Grafton ($529,100) and Manukau ($544,650).

While overall, Auckland prices remained high, the data showed pressures were easing around the city.

On the North Shore 24 suburbs dropped in value compared to 14 that posted gains. Down south in the Manukau area 22 suburbs dipped in value compared to 17 that experienced growth.

The biggest drop in estimated median value was in the South Auckland suburb of Burswood which fell by $45,050 [4.6 per cent] in the last quarter to $934,300.

Around the rest of the city growth remained steady, with more of the central city suburbs (27) rising in value compared to the 24 that dipped - though the change in value for most Auckland suburbs tended to sit below 5 per cent for the three months to December.

Of the top 10 Auckland suburbs, most experienced a rise in value; the largest in Mission Bay which jumped by $75,036 (4.4 per cent) .


Meanwhile, growth in the regions continued strongly; the largest value increase, 11.3 per cent ($24,656), was in Featherston, South Wairarapa.

Strong growth was also witnessed in "more affordable areas" near Auckland and Hamilton, Rush said, including Cambridge, Kaipara, Whangarei and the Far North Districts.

Others were the Hauraki, Waikato, South Waikato and Rotorua and the Hawkes Bay.

Taumarunui appears to be the place to go for a bargain. The average value in the King Country town is $116,650, meaning you could buy 10 properties there for roughly the same price as one standard Auckland home.

Homeowners were looking for "more affordable homes and investors look for higher yields or affordable investment properties if they have been priced out of Hamilton and Auckland", Rush said.

First National chief executive Bob Brereton said while prices remained high, sales had dropped off.


"If you look at sales volumes over the last few months they have been dropping off markedly," he said.

"The increase in prices has alarmed the public and they are expecting this huge correction will come."

But Brereton said though sales volumes were likely to pick up as the year got underway, he didn't expect prices to drop markedly.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Bindi Norwell said Auckland Central had witnessed the biggest overall drop in sales volumes - with sales in the three months to January this year almost half of that during the same period last year.

Despite this, some suburbs had still shown signs of growth, she said, with Mt Eden recording the biggest jump in sales; there were 56 more sales (69 per cent increase) this year compared to last.

However, the sales mix had changed, she said, with more apartments, 83, sold in the three months to January, compared to just nine in the same period last year.


This had led to an overall drop in median sales price (down 36 per cent) due to the relatively cheaper price of an apartment compared to a house.

""If we look at dwelling sales only in Mt Eden [excluding apartments], the median price increase is 3 per cent and the volume drop is 21 per cent."

Auckland's three cheapest suburbs

Wellsford $487,150
Grafton $529,100
Manukau $544,650

Auckland's three most expensive suburbs

Herne Bay: $2.47m
St Marys Bay: $2.27m
Stanley Point: $2.02m