The growth of Whanganui's housing market has slowed post-Covid-19 but fundamentals - such as interest from first home buyers and low interest rates - have helped it weather the storm.
James Wilson, director of valuation at OneRoof's data partner Valocity, says Whanganui had been "the jewel in the crown" of the North Island for some time.
"Much like other markets, it entered Covid really hot, with 22.9 per cent annual value growth," Wilson said.
"The rate of growth has stalled. We're still positive at 2.6 per cent, so the rate of growth has come right back, but we're still seeing strong activity in the area.
"We're still seeing first-home buyers drawn to the location, we're still seeing investors remaining not as active but they're still considering their next purchase in the area and anecdotally there are reports of some quite strong conditions so it appears, of all of the lower-priced urban metros in the North Island, to have come through this period relatively well."
Today's One Roof Property Report shows Aramoho as the biggest mover of Whanganui suburbs over the past 12 months with a 28.57 per cent increase to a median value of $315,000 followed by Castlecliff at 26.19 per cent to $265,000 with Marybank the third-fastest growing area at 23.75 per cent to $495,000.
The highest value sale in Whanganui since the start of 2020 has been a Castlecliff property that sold for $1.150m. Second highest was $975,000 for a property at Fordell and third was $781,010 for a Gonville property.
Property Brokers Whanganui branch manager Ritesh Verma believes the outlook for Whanganui's housing market is positive.
The economy is not reliant on tourist spending, and stock levels and buying activity are strong, with houses fetching solid prices, Verma said.
However, he worries about doom-laden predictions having a negative effect on the market.
"I fear if everyone watches the news and gets on the bandwagon about a market crash we will talk ourselves into one," he said.
"We are ever the optimist, of course, but naive we are not, so our agents are working harder and smarter, saving more, and generally knuckling down."
Bayleys Whanganui managing director John Bartley said his team took the opportunity lockdown provided to regroup, learn and plan.
That included a promotion offering free advertising and financial support for homeowners needing to sell their property.
"We knew there were some homeowners in our community doing it tough and the promotion provided some practical help and breathing space," Bartley said.
He, too, is upbeat about the market.
"I think Whanganui real estate is in a good place with lots of new listings and interest. With the added benefit of low interest rates, things are looking buoyant. We continue to get inquiries from the larger centres and I believe that, more than ever, regional New Zealand is becoming a more attractive place to live."
While uncertainty around jobs, the election and the pandemic could put downward pressure on house prices, Harcourts agent Sue Ellis and Ray White Whanganui general manager Philippa Ivory believe the fundamentals of Whanganui's property market are strong.
Whanganui offered buyers quality lifestyle and good-value homes, and what happened in the future was just crystal ball gazing, Ellis said.
"Whanganui has a strong manufacturing and rural economic base, great weather and several significant sporting and cultural events planned," Ivory said.
"With the influx of Government investment into 'shovel-ready' projects, job prospects look okay, and so does the housing market."