Maraenui and Flaxmere, once the go-to areas for affordable Hawke's Bay housing, are now among the suburbs with the fastest growing house prices in New Zealand.

But councillors for the suburbs says it's a suburban boom that should be treated with caution in light of the region's housing crisis.

Maxine Boag, a Napier city councillor whose ward includes Maraenui, says the suburb will have its share of winners, but rising house prices risk locking out those trying to buy a first house to escape soaring rental costs.

"Everyone needs a home," Boag said. "Higher prices [in Hawke's Bay] are destroying people's chances of ever owning a home, and even renting a home."

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Boag was speaking after the publishing of figures that showed Flaxmere house prices had grown 21 per cent in a year and Maraenui 19.4 per cent.

Napier councillor Maxine Boag says the higher house prices are stopping people from being able to buy or even rent a home. Photo / Paul Taylor
Napier councillor Maxine Boag says the higher house prices are stopping people from being able to buy or even rent a home. Photo / Paul Taylor

Those spikes were the fourth and sixth highest in NZ respectively. The median value of a house in Flaxmere is now $276,200, and in Maraenui $301,150.

Harcourts Hastings general manager James Cooper said Flaxmere had been flooded with competition between investors looking for high rental returns and first-home buyers who cannot afford more upmarket areas.

"Rentals are still in high demand and our property management team are seeing large numbers of people attending viewings, and we don't see this changing any time soon."

Hawke's Bay as a whole has seen property values increase rapidly in recent years, with median prices across the region increasing by 10.8 per cent since March last year - an average increase of almost $50,000.

Hastings councillor Henare O'Keefe says that renters in Flaxmere are at the mercy of landlords. Photo / Duncan Brown
Hastings councillor Henare O'Keefe says that renters in Flaxmere are at the mercy of landlords. Photo / Duncan Brown

The Hastings councillor for Flaxmere ward, Henare O'Keefe, says the rise of house prices in the area is taking the opportunity of buying homes away from the true locals.

"I've always said that Flaxmere was an opportunity and not a liability, and investors caught on early and are renting these homes," he said.

"Now a very high percentage of us are tenants.

"We are at their mercy."

He said that for most people in Flaxmere the opportunity to buy a house is not a reality.

Even the "working poor", people with full-time employment, are struggling, he said.

"I only wish the people buying the properties were Flaxmere people, but they can't afford it," O'Keefe said.

"If you could gravitate living standards with the rise of prices that would make my day.

"If those who were investing in Flaxmere and profiting off us could give something back I would be much happier."

Also among the top 10 fastest rising localities were two in the Tararua district - Eketahuna at fifth, with an increase of 20.3 per cent and a median of $198,850, and Dannevirke, at seventh, up 19.2 per cent with a median value of $223,300.

Waipukurau, Whakatū and Waipawa were also listed in the top 20.

The figures were released by property data, information, analytics and services provider CoreLogic.