Northland's housing market started this year with a bang, increasing sales and setting a record median house price of $421,250.

The region was one of two throughout the country and the only region in the North Island to set the record, according to latest figures on the median price increase in the one year to February supplied by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

The median price across Northland rose by 20.4 per cent or $71,250 in February compared with February last year.

Northland came second behind Central Otago Lakes in the percentage increase.


Central Otago Lakes recorded an increase of 30.4 per cent that bumped its median house price to $725,000 in February.

In Northland, the highest median price in February was $620,000 in Otamatea, followed by rural Whangarei $590,000, Kerikeri $580,750, urban Whangarei $393,750, and Dargaville $275,000.

Paul Beazley of L J Hooker in Whangarei said the median prices for Northland were not surprising given the fact February was typically one of the busiest months of the year for property sale and purchase.

"I know sales across the region have been good but I didn't expect the median house price to be that level but it shows demand is strong and Northland properties are fairly priced compared to other areas."

He said investment in Northland rental properties - mostly by Aucklanders - has slowed down since the Reserve Bank imposed lending restrictions late last year that required a 40 per cent deposit to purchase investment properties.

That has given an opportunity for first home buyers to get on to the property ladder, he said.

Mr Beazley said houses valued at between $350,000 and $400,000 were highly sought after as well as new builds.

REINZ figures show median prices rose 96 per cent in Dargaville, 31 per cent in rural Whangarei and 23 per cent in Otamatea between February last year and February 2017.

The number of days to sell houses decreased from 53 in January to 48 days in February.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said an expensive Auckland housing market meant buyers looked at houses in surrounding regions such as Northland and Waikato.