Central Hawke's Bay is proving the star attraction for house-buyers wanting to ditch Auckland and Wellington for a better lifestyle, while the cost of living in Queenstown is now seeing people there also joining the exodus to the wider Hawke's Bay region.

Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute shows the region's median house price last month dropped by nearly $14,000 from last month's all-time high median to $431,250.

However, prices were still up 12 per cent on the same month last year.

Prices in Central Hawke's Bay fared better than other districts - rising 6 per cent month-on-month to $300,000. That also marked a huge 32 per cent jump in price from last year - the biggest rise in Hawke's Bay.


"We're definitely a vibrancy in our community with large numbers of new people", CHB Mayor Alex Walker said.

"I'm aware of people in Porangahau village, Waipukurau and Waipawa, and Takapau - it's right across the district."

The mayor said she believed the influx would continue into the future because people were making choices about lifestyle and affordability.

"Distance is no longer a constraint to doing business, which means people can live and work from anywhere."

Elsewhere, Napier's median price rose 25 per cent annually, to $490,000, while prices in Hastings rose just 3 per cent to $410,000.

REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said there were still signs of a strong property market in Hawke's Bay.

"Another sign that Hawke's Bay continues to be buoyant is the 17 per cent increase in the number of properties sold compared to last month and a 5.3 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

"The number of days to sell stayed at the same level as April 2017 at 32.


"It will be interesting to see how the market will continue to track over the next couple of months as there are few signs indicating any significant changes apart from perhaps the traditional seasonal adjustment."

Bayley's Hawke's Bay regional operations manager Kerry Geange said the slight fall in average prices was influenced by the situation in Wairoa, which tended to skew regional statistics because of low sale numbers.

"Our national research indicates the Hawke's Bay market still has very low inventory, and is still seeing positive growth while other regional areas are starting to taper off.

"On the ground we are still seeing significant buyer interest, and those purchasers are more educated and prepared in terms of what they want and where they see value. We are still seeing above average enquiry from out of the region, including Auckland, Wellington, and interestingly, from the Queenstown area, as the growth down there is starting to impact on lifestyle."

Tremains sales manager Stuart Christensen said the market was "just taking a breather".

"I don't think we've seen a levelling off yet, with the amount of buyers we still have coming through our properties.

"Buyers might be taking a little longer to make a decision but with interest rates low, stock levels low yet buyer demand high, there is still really good inquiry on properties that come on to the market.

"We had school holidays in between, which does mean people take a breather as well from looking but we had a really good month last month. So, from our point of view the market is still going really well."

Ray White Hawke's Bay managing director and REINZ regional ambassador Elanor MacDonald said while online enquiries from Auckland had reduced, there had been an uplift in interest from buyers in Wellington.

"That's been an interesting turn in the last four to eight weeks."

While vendors' price expectations had continued to rise at a faster rate than the market, the market was still in a good condition.

"In general, listings are historically at their lowest levels and there is still a lot of buyer interest out there.

"Last month we had our best month as a company, in years, so it certainly hasn't slowed."

Harcourts Hawke's Bay general manager James Cooper said there was no sign of buyer demand dropping, despite the slight monthly reduction in median prices.

"We are seeing great action in our auction rooms and very good clearance rates. For example, all our properties up for auction on Wednesday sold with spirited bidding.

"That's a 100 per cent clearance rate, which is brilliant when compared to the rest of the country.

"Investors and first home buyers are showing interest in the lower price range. Whilst local interest is still very strong across the entire range, and we are seeing more out of town buyers attracted by properties in the mid to high ranges – particularly those buyers from Auckland."