A prolonged study of property price movements coupled with his frugality has landed Whangarei nurse Jason Wordsworth his first home in the most sought-after suburb in Northland.

The 23-year-old competed with an Aucklander at an auction for the four-bedroom weatherboard house in Morningside worth $356,000 and Mr Wordsworth plans to have his friends rent it off him. His purchase followed the QV quarterly analysis of North Island properties in the final quarter of last year that shows Morningside experienced the biggest increase in values over that period.

Real estate agents have, for many years, predicted that Morningside could become Whangarei's Ponsonby and it looks like their claims could finally be getting close. The median value of a property in Morningside increased 6.3 per cent to an estimated median value of $290,900 over the last quarter of 2015 and more than 20 per cent throughout the year.

Mangawhai Heads was the most expensive suburb to buy into with an estimated median value of $634,350 at the end of December. That value increased more than 5 per cent over the quarter and more than 8 per cent over the year. The cheapest suburb was Kaikohe with an average value of $137,500, down 1 per cent throughout the quarter. It was the only Northland suburb where values declined over the three months.


Mr Wordsworth said every little bit counted as far as savings were concerned and he advised homebuyers, especially young people who wanted to get on to the property ladder, to be disciplined and to research the property market before buying a house.

"My initial plan was flatting with friends but then thought instead of giving my money to someone else, I can invest that money into a property and have my friends rent off me. Morningside is a great place. It's so handy and was within my price range of mid $300,000 and I spotted this one on Trade Me and quite liked it," he said.

Mr Wordsworth said it paid for homebuyers to look at property websites, and the Property Guide and going to auctions to get a feel of how the process worked.

Barfoot and Thompson Whangarei branch manager Martin Dear said Morningside was north-facing, warm and sunny. The houses were solid and it was close to town.

"It's an area that's probably been undervalued quite a bit," he said.

Investors had been buying in Morningside as well as locals and he thought the area would continue to grow. He said auctions in the suburb had "way exceeded" the expectations of vendors. Mr Dear said Mangawhai Heads had always been a popular place for Aucklanders, whereas Kaikohe was considered more out of the way. He said there had also been good growth in sales numbers in Raumanga.

"The reason there is the Aucklanders are coming in. They're buying properties at about $250,000 average and getting, you know, $320 a week rent."