Whangārei's property values continue to grow, but the rest of the region is falling for the first time in years.
Some $805 million worth of property has sold in Northland in the past year.
The One Roof Property Report, released today, gives a comprehensive picture of Northland's property market over the past 12 months - in a suburb-by-suburb and township breakdown - with a particular focus on the last quarter.
But one of the most surprising aspects is that the market is ideal for first-home buyers. Many homes in the $700,000-plus market have sold to those buying for the first time.
One Roof Editor Owen Vaughan said the figures showed the Whangārei market continuing to grow - up 10 per cent in the past 12 months (and 1.9 per cent on the previous quarter) - to have a median property value of $530,000.
''It looks like you've got two separate property markets at the moment. Whangārei continues to be a big growth area, but the other parts of Northland have slowed down considerably,'' Vaughan said.
However, while they are up year-on-year, values in the Far North and Kaipara have both slid in the last quarter. The biggest to drop were Dargaville and surrounds - down 4 per cent to a median of $415,000 - and Kerikeri and surrounds down 1.3 per cent to $750,000.
Altogether, 1700 residential properties sold in Northland in the past 12 months, with a total sales value of $805,778,318.
''The wider Northland area is currently experiencing significant declines in sales volumes, which again, is evident in the Far North and Kaipara, although volumes in Whangārei are noticeably down,'' Vaughan said.
Vaughan said first-home buyers were a huge part of the Northland market and many were buying homes in suburbs they might not have traditionally been able to afford.
''In places like Ngunguru, for example, which has a median value of $767,500 (up 23.8 per cent in a year) you are seeing a number of first-home buyers buying up houses there. It's a great time for first-home buyers at the moment. Investors aren't in the market as much and movers - those moving up the property ladder or downsizing - aren't relocating as much,'' Vaughan said.
''First-home buyers also have low interest rates in their favour, which gives them a bit more buying power than previously.''
He said first-home buyers represented 25.6 per cent of new mortgage registrations in Northland in the past month.
The three Whangārei suburbs with the largest year-on-year growth were Ngunguru, Kauri and Ruatangata, which all had medians above $700,000, and show that not all first- home buyers were chasing the lowest priced properties.
''First-home buyers appear to be adopting a new mindset when it comes to location and type of property that they are willing to purchase,'' Vaughan said.
''It represents a structural shift in ethos away from 'I want to live in the same location and property as where I was raised' to 'What's a realistic location and property type for me to step onto the property ladder'.''
In the Far North, Kawakawa is still the best-performing area, with a median value of
$305,000 - a 29.8 per cent increase on a year ago, followed by Paihia, with a median of $545,000, up 22.5 per cent.
And when it comes to big sales prices, the most expensive residential property sold in Northland in the past 12 months was a home in Orokawa Bay, Russell, which sold for $6,000,000 last December.
A home on Russell's Pitt St was the second most expensive sold at $3,950,000.
Most expensive places
Langs Beach - $1,515,000
Matapouri - $905,000
Whananaki - $885,000
Least expensive places
Moerewa - $130,000
Herekino - $175,000
Kaikohe - $190,000