Whanganui's median property value has risen 45 per cent over the past year.
The latest figures, from OneRoof and its data partner Valocity, show Whanganui's median value is now $448,000, up $138,000 in the past 12 months.
Manawatū-Whanganui is the country's hottest property market. The region's median value has risen 41 per cent — or $158,000 — to $548,000.
That compares to the national median, which jumped 25 per cent in the past 12 months to $779,000.
One Roof editor Owen Vaughan said for homeowners it was "a significant boost to their real estate fortunes" but it was tough for first-home buyers looking to get onto the property ladder as the deposits they needed were so much higher.
Based on the figures, the amount first-home buyers in Whanganui needed for a deposit was $27,600 more than they did a year ago.
"That often equates to a reduction in the number of bedrooms or a more modest property than they were hoping for," Vaughan said.
Whanganui real estate agents have reported a recent increase in listings and a modest slowing in sales.
"The fizz is not quite as fizzy as it was but properties are still moving quickly," Ritesh Verma, of Property Brokers, said.
"We have around 150 listed properties at the moment.
"At the beginning of the year, we had less than 100, so that's good. Buyers are still very motivated but we are not getting the same level of competition for individual properties that we were seeing before."
Verma said investors were still buying, but they tended to be long-term investors.
"The speculators - those short-term investors who like to ride the market - are not around so much."
Ray White manager Philippa Ivory said the agency also had more properties on the market and first-timers were well represented in the list of potential buyers.
John Bartley, of Bayleys Whanganui, said properties were selling at a slightly slower pace than they were earlier in the year.
"We are seeing quite a lot of young families moving to Whanganui," he said.
"There are also quite a few people moving back here after living overseas or in other parts of New Zealand.
"Some are coming home to give their children a better life or to care for parents who live here."
Vaughan said the future of the housing market was far from certain a year ago as the country was coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown.
"Sales were happening and the crowds were back at the open homes, but the overall sentiment was that any surge in the market would be short-lived.
"It's now been a full 12 months since New Zealand's property market opened for business again after more than two months of Covid-19 restrictions brought the real estate industry to a standstill."
Vaughn said a potent combination of record low-interest rates and the removal of home loan restrictions, as well as travel restrictions curbing Kiwi spending, saw a rush of buyers enter the market and house prices grow at their fastest pace in years.
This in turn led to a series of Government and Reserve Bank measures aimed at slowing house price growth.
"These post-lockdown increases are now baked in, and it would take a Global Financial Crisis-type event to bring prices back down to pre-Covid levels."
Vaughan said nationally the share of new mortgage registrations to investors this quarter was up slightly on the same period a year ago, from 23 per cent to 24 per cent, but still down on their share during the last market peak, in 2016, when it was 29 per cent.
First-home buyers — the group most in competition with investors for affordable homes — have seen their share of the market dip from 42 per cent a year ago to 39 per cent this quarter (although their share remains higher than the 32 per cent in 2016).
The percentage of re-financers has risen from 23 per cent to 27 per cent over the past 12 months, while the share of the market represented by movers has dipped from 12 per cent to 11 per cent over the same period.