The bubbling Auckland housing market is driving property prices up in the regions, although most are still well away from returning to prices seen during the 2007 market peak.

Many Aucklanders are leaving the Super City to buy their first home in cheaper areas.

Property owners, having seen their homes rise in value by 20 per cent during the past 12 months, are cashing up to be mortgage-free. Hamilton and Tauranga seem to be the top destinations, and there are signs sellers in these areas are ditching traditional fixed-price sales for auctions.

According to the latest figures from QV, One Tree Point in Whangarei has seen property values rise 5.2 per cent during the 12 months to June, with average selling prices sitting at $508,000.


In 2013 the average price was $465,250.

In the Whangarei suburb of Kensington, average prices are $307,550, having risen by 4.8 per cent.

Homeowners in Kerikeri have seen the average value of their homes go up by 4.9 per cent to $464,300.

House prices in Thames have also been boosted by people moving out of Auckland, jumping 10 per cent in the year to June. Average prices are now $333,650 - slightly above the 2007 market peak of $333,150.

In Hamilton it's almost boom time as prices rise across the city. The Bader suburb has enjoyed the biggest lift, up 11.3 per cent in the 12 months to June to $259,750. The district's prices rose by 4.3 per cent in the second quarter of this year alone.

Welcome Bay and Hairini in Tauranga both rose 5 per cent in the 12 months to June with average prices sitting at $399,550 and $358,800 respectively. Properties in Mt Maunganui enjoyed more modest gains of 2.2 per cent, with average prices around $577,850.

Other notable rises have taken place in Wellington's Ranui, where property is up 4.6 per cent to an average $271,500.

Wellington is highlighted by BNZ economist Tony Alexander as a place property investors should watch, thanks to the Transmission Gully motorway project, the capital's IT and film industries, and "the ability to buy a reasonably priced house to raise a family".


For full details of changes across the North Island see the Property Report - free with today's Herald.