House prices in the Wairoa District had the highest growth rate in New Zealand last year with the median house price rising 63.5 per cent - over $100,000.
It's been described by mayor Craig Little and an industry expert as "catching up" to the rest of the country, but there are also concerns for first home buyers and locals being priced out of the area.
The latest analysis by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows the median house price in Wairoa in 2020 was $269,750, up from $165,000 in 2019.
"The Wairoa District experienced an extraordinary level of median price growth last year, with house prices rising by 63.5 per cent in just 12 months – that's an increase of $104,750 in 12 months," Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Bindi Norwell said.
"This is the sort of growth levels we would expect to see over a number of years, not just a number of months."
Wairoa was the only district in New Zealand that saw median prices increase in excess of 40 per cent.
Second in NZ was the Kaikoura District which had a 38 per cent change in median house price.
"The rate at which house prices have increased has put significant pressure on those wanting to enter the market, and in places like Wairoa which topped the list, has seen many locals priced out of the market," Norwell said.
"The big questions most people are now asking are how much higher can prices go and how long will the rise last for.
"The reality is, that unless we can address the supply issues, we're likely to see house prices rise in the short to medium term."
Wairoa mayor Craig Little said the house prices rising meant Wairoa was "catching up with the rest of the country".
"It's a great thing, it's fantastic.
"But also, I'm worried about young ones trying to get into homes or anyone trying to get into homes, it makes it a little bit more difficult."
Another effect of the rising prices is that "people have a bit of equity in their homes now" and are able to borrow money to do things up.
"That's a bonus too," he said.
He said there have been new people selling up in bigger cities and moving to Wairoa as well as people returning from overseas or elsewhere in New Zealand.
"Our population when I joined the council, we were doomsday really... there was no hope for us.
But now the community is growing. "We need that", he said.
There are some new builds happening in Wairoa and the district needs about 150 houses to keep up with demand, he said.
All Hawke's Bay areas were in the top 45 of the 72 districts listed on the REINZ data.
Hastings District placed 25 on the list with house prices rising 20.4 per cent from $490,000 to $590,000 in 2020.
Napier City was 36 with a 16.5 per cent rise from $537,000 to $625,713 and Central Hawke's Bay District placed 44 with a 14.7 per cent rise from $375,000 in 2019 to $430,000.
The region as a whole was the fifth out of 16 regions with a median house price rise from $493,000 in 2019 to $585,000 in 2020, changing by 18.7 per cent.
OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said Hawke's Bay was the biggest growth region post-lockdown with a 20 per cent change.
Appealing to a range of buyers and investors, its centres are more affordable than other cities in the market and the region also has a number of higher-end lifestyle properties.
Wairoa is one of the cheapest places in the country, and buyers and investors have seen it as an affordable place, Vaughan said.
A jump of $100,000 is "a big step change for [Wairoa]".
"But it's also reflective of the fact that the region is just catching up to the rest of the country."
Wairoa is one of the leading areas in growth, but post-lockdown Hastings in particular had seen large growth at 20.7 per cent, Vaughan said.
"A real kind of rocket fuel has happened after Covid - once the country came out of lockdown that's when we started seeing that frenzy in the market," he said.