The runaway train that is real estate in Horowhenua has the average house price flirting with the half-million-dollar mark.
Fuelled by record-low interest rates and increased demand, the housing market has exploded. In some areas of the province, sale prices had increased by more than 40 per cent in the last year.
Median house prices in the Horowhenua District increased from $375,000 to $470,000 for the period ending October 2020 - an average rise across the district of 25.3 per cent in one year.
In mid-2016, the median price was just $195,500. The average price in Horowhenua in October 2018 was $305,000.
Some pockets had seen more sales and a bigger sale price increase than other areas. The Kere Kere ward, which is the Foxton and Foxton Beach area, had seen an average increase of 40.5 per cent in the last year and now boasts an average price of $461,000.
Houses in Levin township had a sale price rise of 24.7 per cent in the last year, with an average sale price last month of $467,500, although sale prices in the Waiopehu ward had risen by just 3.1 per cent in the same period, to $567,000.
Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand this week show Horowhenua to be a frontrunner in a national market that is already running hot.
A three-bedroom home in central Levin with one bathroom last week sold for $650,000.
Horowhenua properties are now selling much quicker, too. Where a property might have sat on the market for months, they were now being snapped up within weeks.
Most are listed as deadline sales now and are attracting multiple offers, giving vendors the luxury of weighing up the merits of each offer. Some are only on the market for days.
Where properties were once advertised with a price tag that was open to negotiation, most were listed now with a BEO price, or "buyer enquiries over".
Sale prices were now so far above a home's Quotable Valuation, the QVs were in danger of becoming obsolete as a reference.
REINZ chief executive Bindi Norwell said the market was driven by demand and a lack of housing and there was no sign of a slowdown in sight.
"Unless there is a significant number of new listings come to the market then we would expect to see continued pressure on pricing and affordability in the coming months," she said.
"Like many parts of the country, Horowhenua District saw house prices increase to a new record median price of $470,000 in October, showing just how strong the property market has been over the last few months in this post-Covid environment.
"Open homes are busy, particularly with new listings, which is resulting in quick sales with the median number of days it takes to sell a property in the Horowhenua District currently sitting at just over three weeks [22 days], the same as last October, but down from 48 days in June.
"Demand for good properties is across the board, with strong interest from first-home buyers, investors and locals looking to up/downsize and take advantage of the record-low interest rates and low mortgage rates available from the banks."
There is no doubt Covid-19 was affecting house prices, too, with many expatriate New Zealanders looking to return home.
Real estate agents had reported fielding calls from people in quarantine, while one overseas buyer was looking to return to Levin after living abroad and purchased a property worth almost $900,000 - sight unseen.