Auckland's most expensive suburbs have reaped the biggest benefits from rising house prices in the last 20 years, new data from OneRoof shows.

Median house prices in St Marys Bay, Remuera, Freemans Bay, Herne Bay, Omaha and Devonport all rose more than $1.4 million from 2000 to 2019, showing the extent of the boom in New Zealand's biggest property market and the level of gain homeowners in those suburbs have enjoyed.

OneRoof and its data partner Valocity examined the changes in median sale price over the last 20 years for all 131 of New Zealand's million-dollar-plus suburbs. The figures showed which suburbs crossed the million-dollar threshold the fastest and which ones have seen the biggest dollar value increases since 2000.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan says: "The million-dollar price threshold has been a status marker in the New Zealand property market ever since Herne Bay first broke the barrier in the early 2000s. Kiwi homeowners tend to obsess about which price bracket their property is in and how it compares to the rest of New Zealand."

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The median house price in St Marys Bay jumped the most, in dollars terms, in the last 20 years, from $600,000 in 2000 to $2.475 million now - a leap of $1.875 million, or 313 percent.

The city fringe suburb, which is home to grand heritage villas on large sections overlooking the harbour, joined the million-dollar club in 2003, just six years after neighbouring Herne Bay made real estate history in 1997 and became the first New Zealand suburb to record an average sale price of more than $1 million.

Figures from OneRoof and its data partner Valocity identified Sandspit as enjoying second biggest dollar increase in median sale price since 2000.

Twenty years ago houses in the coastal suburb next to Matakana and Omaha typically sold for $285,000. The median sale price in 2019 is $1.95 million - a difference of $1.665 million, or 584 percent.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan says: "Sandspit is a relatively new-comer to New Zealand's million-dollar club, with the median sale price only passing $1 million in 2015. Its waterfront location and proximity to beaches at Omaha and Tawharanui as well as markets and shops at Matakana and Warkworth have made it a popular place to buy for Aucklanders.

"Homeowners who bought a house or section in Sandspit back in 2000 are now potentially sitting on a goldmine.

Stack Street in Herne Bay, one of Auckland's most expensive streets. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Stack Street in Herne Bay, one of Auckland's most expensive streets. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"The median sale price generally sits between $1.2 million and $1.4 million but several big sales this year have fuelled the leap to almost $2 million."

The figures also show big dollar gains for the following Auckland suburbs:


Remuera: The Double-Grammar zone suburb, which joined the million dollar club in 2010, has seen its median sale price jump from $520,000 at the start of 2000 to $1.97 million now - a difference of $1.45 million.

Freemans Bay: The former "slum" suburb wedged between Auckland CBD and Ponsonby saw its median sale price grow from $422,000 in 2000 to $1.875 million in 2019 a difference of $1.453 million.

Herne Bay: Three years after becoming New Zealand's first million-dollar suburb, Herne Bay started 2000 with a median sale price of just $645,000 and didn't cross the $1 million mark again until 2004. It's median sale price this year was just over $2 million - a jump of $1,44 million - but down from $3.56 million the year before - the result of a cooling market, fewer top end sales and the ban on overseas buyers.

The figures also reflect the radical changes some suburbs have seen in the last 20 years. Glen Innes, Waiotaiki Bay and Onehunga were predominantly state housing areas in 2000, with median sale prices of around $200,000. Regeneration programmes and new, private housing have made them desirable places to live and resulted in house prices lifting almost $1 million.

Westbury Crescent in Remuera, one of Auckland's most expensive streets. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Westbury Crescent in Remuera, one of Auckland's most expensive streets. Photo / Jason Oxenham

According to the data, suburbs took on average 11 years to go from a $500,000 median sale price bracket to a million-dollar-plus bracket, with most crossing the million-dollar threshold in 2015. Just eight suburbs have registered a median sale of price of $2 million or more and just one - Herne Bay - has seen a median sale of above $3 million.

Veteran real estate agent David Rainbow, who has broken sales records in suburbs around Auckland, says Herne Bay "leads the market up, and it leads the market down," pointing to the post-crash slowdown in the suburb in both 1989 and again in the early 2000s.

He's noticed buyers who had headed to Herne Bay in the early to mid-2000s now looking at Auckland's eastern suburbs, where they're close to the top private schools.

"But I wouldn't call it a stampede. People like the restaurants and lifestyle of Herne Bay."

He says that while prices of neighbouring suburbs of St Marys Bay and Freemans Bay have lower prices, on a price per square metre bases these smaller properties are actually selling for more than those in Herne Bay now.

Rainbow expects the next big surge to be around Newmarket, where quiet, frequent electric trains have pushed up the prices around Broadway Park and predicts the new, upscale Westfield 277 mall will push another surge.

Anne Duncan, who has been selling real estate since the early 1990s in and around Mount Albert, New Windsor and beyond, describes the house price increases in previously low-value Auckland suburbs such as Waterview, Onehunga, Kingsland, Point Chevalier and Ellerslie as the "isthmus crawl".

"People work their way around the isthmus, as places got gentrified. Point Chev was working class, then it gentrified, so then buyers go to Waterview, which is just a few hundred metres across the motorway and has good state houses and now new apartments like Ockham.

"Avondale and New Windsor are next, with the motorway sorted and because it's so close to the train line. Anywhere on train lines - it's the future. For ten years I've had young buyers coming back from London, and they're all used to jumping on the trains - they could see that would come [to Auckland]."