House prices across the country are continuing to rise as low interest rates and easing in LVR restrictions show more first home buyers are active in affordable areas.
Nationwide house property values for February have increased 6.5 per cent to an average of $672,645 over the past year and were up 1.2 per cent over the past three months, the latest figures from QV's monthly house price index show.
"Low interest rates and the easing in the LVR restrictions has seen many more first home buyers active in areas where they can still afford to enter the market, while some investors also appear to be becoming more active now they need a slightly lower deposit," QV national spokeswoman Andrea Rush said.
Values continued to rise faster in Wellington, Dunedin and other areas, than in Auckland.
"The Hamilton and Tauranga markets have picked up in February after a sluggish start to the year while the Hawke's Bay continues to see some of the strongest value growth in the North Island."
The Auckland region saw the lowest increase, up 1 per cent, raising the average value of houses to $1,053,948, while Napier saw the biggest increase, up 16.5 per cent, to $488,236.
Auckland's increase was the slowest annual rate for the city since August 2017.
Queenstown Lakes District house values continued to climb to new heights, up 7.2 per cent, to $1,114,358.
While Christchurch house prices lowered, by 0.8 per cent, to $494,564.
"Christchurch is the only main centre to see values drop over the past year, while many regional areas of the South Island continue to see values rise including Nelson and Tasman, Central Otago and the MacKenzie District as well as Southland and Invercargill."
In the provinces the South Island's Mackenzie District continued to see a surge in growth in value, rising 23.5 per cent year on year and 8.1 per cent in the past three months.
While Auckland had not jumped up in value, other nearby provincial areas had.
In South Wairarapa values jumped to rise up 23.2 per cent year on year and 6.0 per cent over the past three months; Masterton values were up 18.1 per cent year on year and 2.8 per cent over the past three months.