Whanganui was one of the standout centres for property price growth in January.
The latest OneRoof/Valocity figures show prices in the Whanganui/Manawatū region increased 20.3 per cent year on year, ahead of Otago (14.6 per cent) and Dunedin (12.9 per cent.
"Smaller urban centres continue to enjoy strong growth, but it is important to note that the lifts are from a comparatively low base, and that the actual dollar amount that represents is relatively small, although still a big deal for homeowners and buyers in those markets," OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said.
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"The lift in values in Whanganui is being driven by the volume of affordable properties on the market there. Buyers priced out of more expensive markets, such as Hawke's Bay, Tauranga and Wellington, are seeing the value Whanganui offers."
Castlecliff is one of the suburbs on the rise, with a 18.6 per cent growth in property values year on year. Increases were also recorded for properties in Otamatea (18.4), Gonville (17.5), Springvale (16.2), College Estate (15.7), Durie Hill (14.4), Tawhero (12.5) and Whanganui East (11.6).
"The region is also catching the eye of investors, who are realising they can achieve better yields in this region than other traditional investor markets," Vaughan said.
At the higher end of the local property market, more Whanganui/Manawatū homes have joined the million-dollar-plus club, with new figures showing a massive lift in the number of properties selling for $1 million dollars or more.
Nationwide, there were 10,615 $1 million-dollar-plus sales in 2018, up 4.5 per cent on 2017 but still short of 2016's total, when 11,648 $1 million-dollar-plus properties were sold.
According to sales figures released by REINZ, 13 out of 15 regions saw year-on-year increases in the number of properties selling for $1 million-plus, with Manawatū/Whanganui recording the second largest year-on-year increase.
There was an 83.3 per cent lift in million-dollar-plus sales in the region - from 12 in 2017 to 22 in 2018.
Vaughan said Whanganui's surge showed the region was catching up with the likes of Tauranga and Hamilton in terms of value growth and demand.
"Whanganui has increasingly become a destination for buyers priced out of more expensive markets and who are looking for an easy lifestyle."