Hawke's Bay house sellers are now asking for some of the highest house prices in regional New Zealand.

Wairarapa sits top but Hawke's Bay is no longer far behind, with an average asking price of $532,512 for December, a rise of 5.0 per cent since the last realestate.co.nz figures.

Other regions that made the top list include Gisborne, Northland and Coromandel.

The region's inventory - the total amount of time all existing properties on the market would take to sell - is now only eight weeks.

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Other regions with short inventories included Gisborne (five weeks), Wellington (six weeks), Otago (eight weeks) and Nelson (11 weeks).


Within Hawke's Bay, both Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay posted record median prices. The average house price in CHB is now $355,000 - up from last November's $340,000.

Harcourts General Manager James Cooper said the fact that Hawke's Bay is one of the few regions topping the list is driven by a number of factors.

"These include a strong local economy with low unemployment. Another pull factor is the superb lifestyle the Bay offers, making it an attractive place for people either looking to return home to raise a family, or buyers looking to relocate from Auckland in their retirement," he said.

Property Broker's real estate specialist Matt Oliver said Central Hawke's Bay in particular had been experiencing huge demand during the past few months.

"We're still getting multiple offers and buyer enquiry is still really high from out of towners, we're dealing with huge populations especially from the Hawke's Bay region.

"There's a big push down from Auckland and Tauranga, so Hawke's Bay people are cashing up and moving to more rural areas, buying a similar property with great quality but at a cheaper price, so they get to bank a buck or two."

When it came to property market predictions for 2019, Oliver said it was like gazing into a crystal ball.

"Right now it's looking really good, there's no signs of the market changing in the early term of the year. Buyer inquiry is still high, my database is still full of buyers waiting for properties coming onto the market. So the short term is looking really positive, so it's looking to be a pretty good six months."

The national asking price had steadied during 2018 with a mere 1.9 per cent price increase, the lowest (year-on-year) for any December since 2012.

Realestate.co.nz spokesperson Vanessa Taylor said it was more of a correction rather than a trend.