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House prices in Northland are at a record high amid projections the booming urban market is to remain consistent over coming months.

The median sale price across the region rose 13.9 per cent in the year - $50,000 - to reach a record high of $410,000, compared with $360,000 in December 2015.

In the year, prices jumped 35.1 per cent to $600,000 in Otamatea, 21.3 per cent to $242,000 in Dargaville, 12.6 per cent to $580,000 in Kerikeri, 16.9 per cent to $564,000 in Whangarei District and 19.1 per cent to $387,000 in Whangarei City.

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The red hot urban market urged Ellie Ball and her husband Stephen to move 900m down the road, selling their Morningside home for $150,000 more than they paid in 2014. After speaking to a real estate agent about Morningside's bright future, the couple decided to sell up.

"We were living in a three-bedroom property and really weren't looking for another one," said the mother-of-one, now expecting her second baby.

After just one month, and four open homes, the property was sold by tender. The sale - to another young, local couple - went through on January 19.

During the sale, the Ball family were tasked with finding a new home in the same area, and with an extra bedroom.

"We really love Morningside, so we wanted to buy here but there wasn't much going."

Finally, a private listing appeared online and the pair jumped on it.

For an extra $37,000, they bagged their fourth bedroom and stunning city views.

"We were surprised how fast our house sold, and the price it went for."

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She said that having the advice of a real estate agent was vital to a successful sale.

The year-on-year volume of sales in Northland dropped 4.6 per cent to 230 sales last month, compared with 241 in December 2015, and 294 in November 2016.

Sales did increase last year in Whangarei City (9.6 per cent), Whangarei District (7.1 per cent) and Kerikeri (42.1 per cent).

There was a dramatic drop of 21.8 per cent between the November and December sales, only increasing in Whangarei city (5.8 per cent), with a dip of 12.9 per cent in Kerikeri.

Meanwhile, the average number of days to sell in Northland in December was 36, compared with 41 in November, with Whangarei city at 32, Dargaville 30, Kaitaia 50 and Kerikeri 35 days to sell last month.

Over the past 10 years the average number of days to sell during December for Northland had been 53 days.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) chief executive Bindi Norwell said interest from some buyers had eased in the region.

"Northland is continuing to see strong growth in prices across the region, although demand from investors and first-home buyers has eased a little over the past month.

"Inventory remains tight across the region with a fall in the number of new listings over December, restricting buyer choice."

The national median sale price was $516,000, just $4000 from the record $520,000 set in November. Northland was one of five of the 12 regions to hit new record median sale prices with Hawke's Bay, Wellington, Otago and Southland.

Barfoot & Thompson Whangarei branch manager Martin Dear said there were still plenty of listings available, and interest from Auckland was still trickling north.

"As soon as that quietens down, the market here will slow down."

Mr Dear predicted the next six months would see consistent sales, because prices were still affordable.


Property sales
Location Dec-16 Nov-16 Dec-15
Northland 230 294 241
Whangarei City 91 86 83
Whangarei District 30 46 28
Dargaville 11 21 15
Otamatea 15 32 29
Kerikeri 27 31 19

Number of days to sell in December
Northland 36
Whangarei city 32
Dargaville 30
Kaitaia 50
Kerikeri 35