Aucklanders might not view humble Otara as one of the city's most exclusive suburbs, but - perhaps surprisingly - it has become one of the hardest locations to buy into.
Just 2 per cent of Otara's homes sold and changed hands in the 12 months to June 2018, the lowest turnover rate anywhere in Auckland, according to new data by analysts CoreLogic.
The North Shore's Windsor Park (2.1 per cent turnover), Point England (2.2 per cent) and Mission Bay (2.3 per cent) in the east, and Mount Roskill (2.4 per cent) in the south west round out the five suburbs with the lowest turnover rates.
The five suburbs with the highest turnover rates included Long Bay (11.9 per cent turnover) and Albany Heights (10.5 per cent) in the North Shore.
They were followed by Swanson (9.6 per cent) and Hobsonville (9.5 per cent) in the west, and Silverdale (9.3 per cent) also on the North Shore.
Overall, Auckland sales volumes in the 12 months to June were well down across the city compared to the same period in 2016 when the market peaked, the figures showed.
"Of 170 suburbs ... the turnover rate has dropped from two years ago in 163 of them," CoreLogic senior research analyst Kelvin Davidson said.
At the same time, Auckland home values have stagnated - even in suburbs where large numbers of homes were still selling.
"Swanson, for example, has seen the annual pace of growth in median values slow from 12.5 per cent in June 2016 to 0.6 per cent in June 2018," Davidson said.
FIVE SUBURBS WITH THE LOWEST TURNOVER OF SALES:
• Otara - 2% of the suburb's homes were sold in the 12 months to June 2018
• Windsor Park - 2.1% of homes sold
• Point England - 2.2% of homes sold
• Mission Bay - 2.3% of homes sold
• Mount Roskill - 2.4% of homes sold
So what is going on in Otara? If it isn't a haven for the rich, like Herne Bay or Remuera, why is it the suburb where home owners are least willing to sell?
It's likely because investors own many Otara homes, and they have been less active buying and selling Auckland properties, RCG architectural and property firm associate director John Polkinghorne said.
This is partly because stricter "loan-to-value restrictions" made it harder to borrow money and partly because home values had not been increasing in leaps and bounds like two years ago, he said.
Investors instead have been concentrating on rents and Otara and its nearby suburbs of Mangere, Mangere East and Clover Park offer some of Auckland's best yields.
At the same time, Otara has some of the city's most "affordable" homes for owner-occupiers, Polkinghorne said.
These home owners tend to be forced to hold onto their properties rather than deliberately doing so because many find it too hard to move up the property ladder to a more expensive suburb, he said.
Windsor Park was a suburb with mid-priced homes that tended to be prized by families, Polkinghorne said.
It has cheaper homes close to industrial areas and more expensive properties closer to the coast.
"It is probably families with children, who appreciate the suburb the most and are staying in the area for schooling," he said.
These families also likely found it hard to upgrade to the "prized" coastal suburbs that stretched along the North Shore's coast, such as nearby Mairangi Bay.
However, the suburb's proximity to worksites and the coast also made it popular with renters, leading investors, who owned multiple properties, to snap up half of all sales in the suburb over the past year, CoreLogic's Davidson said.
Point England is a different story to Otara, Polkinghorne said.
Like its neighbouring eastern suburb Panmure, Point England is part of the Tamaki redevelopment now underway in Glen Innes.
"However, while Glen Innes is seeing a lot of new housing being built, and a lot of homes changing hands as a result, Point England and Panmure will have longer to wait until they see the same process," Polkinghorne said.
"In the meantime, a lot of homes are being held for redevelopment by the Tamaki Redevelopment Company and therefore aren't available for sale."
Investors were also active snapping up the properties that do come up for sale, purchasing 48 per cent of the homes sold over the 12 months to June, according to CoreLogic.
Mission Bay has had a slowdown in 2018 after a stronger sales period two years ago, and this may reflect the fact buyers are choosing to look elsewhere recently, Polkinghorne said.
Or it could reflect a gap between the price sellers want and that which buyers are willing to pay, he said.
"Obviously, it is a very well regarded suburb, and I'm sure there is a lot of willing buyers so maybe not a lot of people want to sell there at the moment, he said.
CoreLogic data showed Investors snapped up 38 per cent of all homes offered for sale in the suburb recently.
In Mt Roskill and nearby suburbs New Windsor and Lynfield, home owners are more likely to be hanging onto the properties because they like where they live, Polkinghorne said.
"They're all close to the new Waterview motorway, which gave these suburbs much better links to the CBD when it opened in mid-2017," he said.
House prices in the suburbs had jumped sharply in the lead up to the opening of the tunnel as new buyers paid a premium for its convenience.
They were also located in the zones for popular schools, Lynfield College and Mt Roskill Grammar.
Again, however, those owner-occupiers wishing to move a little closer to the city face a steep price increase to do so.
Polkinghorne said they can expect a jump of at least $100,000 to shift a suburb closer in.
FIVE SUBURBS WITH THE HIGHEST TURNOVER OF SALES:
• Long Bay - 11.9% of the suburb's homes were sold in the 12 months to June 2018
• Albany Heights - 10.5% of homes sold
• Swanson - 9.6% of homes sold
• Hobsonville - 9.5% of homes sold
• Silverdale - 9.3% of homes sold
Among the five suburbs with the highest turnover of sales the explanations were simpler, Polkinghorne said.
All the suburbs were areas where large new housing developments were being built and released to market.
"New home building is concentrated in places on the city fringe, and most of those new homes will show up in the sales data," he said.
CoreLogic's Davidson also noted first home buyers were active in these areas, being responsible for more than 25 per cent of sales in three of the five suburbs - Swanson, Albany Heights and Hobsonville.
This contributed to helping generate a higher volume of sales "but not really boosting prices", he said.