Northland has seen a spring bounce in its property market, with huge increases in the number of new listings and the median house price that rose nearly three times that experienced nationally.
Much of what's happening is seasonal as many homeowners typically choose to hold off putting their properties on the market until after winter has passed and weather conditions are more favourable.
Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows Northland's median price rose by 17.5 per cent— from $415,000 to $487,500— in October compared to the same month last year.
The national median price rise was up 6 per cent to $562,000.
New listings went up 26.2 per cent, from 432 to 545, in just one year.
The number of residential properties sold in Northland increased 21.7 per cent, from 198 to 241, during the same period with the bulk of it taking place in Whangārei.
Christchurch couple Geoff and Tania Barnett moved to Northland last month and not only bought a three-bedroom house but existing business, Kingscourt Interiors Flooring Xtra, in Kerikeri as well.
Both have been sailing to Northland for seven or eight years and were looking for opportunities to relocate while running a property management company in Christchurch.
"We've seen the property market here going up and were looking at Russell, Paihia, and Kerikeri but Kerikeri is part of the Bay of Islands recreationally and the growth in the housing market and population is good for business.
"There are a lot of areas here unlike in Christchurch, the weather is good, Kerikeri has the appeal of a smaller centre and the good things that go with it," he said.
The Barnetts put in an offer for a house a day after it was listed on a Friday and even after increasing that offer, missed out on the property which was sold on a Monday.
OneRoof.co.nz editor Owen Vaughan said, like much of New Zealand, Northland has seen a spring bounce in its property market for a number of reasons, including seasonal factors.
"But the positive story around Northland and the infrastructure that is due to be implemented will have made the market more attractive to Auckland buyers, who typically in the past looked south towards Hamilton and Rotorua for value and for affordability.
"The recently announced changes in mortgage rates will likely fuel house-buying activity and give homeowners in the region more confidence about making a step up," he said.
Northland's median house price rise is the third best in the country behind Manawatu and Otago.
However, the median house price values in the other two regions— $344,000 for
Manawatu and Otago's $480,000— still lag behind Northland's $487,500.
In comparison, the median price rise in Auckland in the last 12 months was a mere 1.8 per cent ($865,000), Waikato 4.6 per cent ($522,000) and Bay of Plenty 10.3 per cent ($580,000).
REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said more listings in Northland meant more choices for buyers and she expected the number of properties and prices to grow in summer months.
For first home buyers, she said banks lowering interest rates coupled with one-off Kiwisaver grant of $10,000 should help families get on to the property ladder.
Figures show 1370 residential houses were for sale in the market or 123 more compared with 1247 an year ago.
Of those, Whangārei had 127, Far North 74, and Kaipara 40.