Property in three Northland suburbs earned more than the average Kiwi worker in the last 12 months, with the region as a whole registering average gains in residential property of more than $24,000.

The lift in median values across Northland comes on the back of increased interest in the region from Auckland and Australian buyers.

Analysis of more than 900 suburbs across New Zealand by OneRoof.co.nz and CoreLogic NZ shows just 7 per cent of suburbs enjoyed capital above the national median salary of $51,844. Northland's median salary is $48,880.

The three top performing Northland suburbs were One Tree Point (up $61,900), Whangārei Heads (up $60,150) and Mangawhai (up $53,750).

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Almost 90 per cent of suburbs in Northland registered gains in the 12 months to October 2018. In Kaipara, Dargaville topped the list with a gain of $40,950.

Just six suburbs suffered a slip in their median value, all in Far North District: Okaihau which fell by $14,050 to $297,900, Kaikohe $7700 ($175,600), Opononi $2650 ($322,450), Waipapa $2150 ($556,250), and Omapere $2150 ($383,300).

Kerikeri was the best performer in the Far North district, gaining $14,850 on average.

Whangārei Heads is one of the top performers in Northland in terms of residential house sales. Photo/Tania Whyte
Whangārei Heads is one of the top performers in Northland in terms of residential house sales. Photo/Tania Whyte

The region's most expensive suburb, Tamaterau, saw little in the way of capital gain, with the median value rising just $12,750 or 1.8 percent, down on the huge gain it made the year before — a staggering $87,000.

More affordable suburbs, such as Woodhill, Morningside, Avenues and Onerahi, saw rises of between $38,000 and $43,000, suggesting increased buyer activity at the lower end of the market in the city.

Bayleys real estate agent Kirsty McCorkindale sells properties in Whangārei Heads and said the area has become popular for many people in the last four years.

Its beautiful location, access to the beach, spectacular views and proximity to central Whangārei were the appealing factors to buyers, she said.

"A lot of people who have grown up here before moving elsewhere are now coming back to have families and they are in their 30s. Also, those who are from elsewhere in Whangārei are choosing to buy properties in Whangārei Heads."

Houses in Whangārei Heads fetch more than $500,000 and she sold one in June for $2.11m.

OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said the growth in values in parts of Northland was a good indicator of improved business confidence, better employment prospects and an increase in infrastructure spending.

"Growth in Kaipara and Whangārei districts reflect the area's growing popularity among Auckland first-time buyers searching for more affordable housing and a lifestyle change."

When tracking suburb values, he said we tended to focus on whether it has gone or down by "x" percent, not the dollar value that represented.

But by looking at both, Vaughan said one could see that even small percentage changes in high-value suburbs translated into significant dollar gains or losses.

"Thus, the top-earning suburb, One Tree Point, can still reap $60,000-plus gains even though not much has changed in its market in the last 12 months.

"Whereas a $48,600 increase in Maungaturoto's median value represents a much bigger percentage change on the year before."

Vaughan said while homeowners in high-value suburbs could take comfort their properties were still earning a decent chunk of money even in a relatively flat market, the flip side was the value of their homes could drop substantially if values dipped by just a few percentage points.

CoreLogic NZ senior researcher Kelvin Davidson said: "It's important to note that the comparison of property capital gains has been made to national, individual earnings. Combined household incomes are much higher and will have beaten property gains in many areas.

"We also need to bear in mind that the value growth is only 'on paper' until the property is sold, and people often have to buy and sell in the same market, where everything has changed in value by similar amounts."