But Wanganui properties still among the most affordable in NZ
First home buyers are returning to the affordable Wanganui property market, and even buyers from outside the region are looking for bargains here, according to a Wanganui real estate agent.
The latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures reveal a jump in local house prices on the back of a sustained period of decline, giving homeowners a welcome lift.
Meanwhile the QV New Zealand Herald Property Report showed the cheapest area to buy during the quarter ending November 30 was Castlecliff, with a median price of $107,000, while the most expensive area was St John's Hill at $256,500.
Wanganui Property Brokers branch manager Philip Kubiak said first home buyers were returning to the market after the recent introduction of Reserve Bank lending restrictions on borrowers with deposits of less than 20 per cent.
Those buyers were beginning to find ways around the restrictions, he said.
Australian retirees, Auckland, Napier and Christchurch buyers were coming into the region for the affordable housing.
An average three or four bedroom property in Castlecliff would suit a first home buyer or someone working in nearby industry. "They can purchase a very comfortable home out there in that lower price range," he said.
For St John's Hill, the higher price would buy a more established section, in a central location close to sporting facilities.
While this week's rise in interest rates could dampen the more buoyant Auckland and Christchurch markets, there was "still so much affordability" in Wanganui.
"As long is the housing availability is here, there'll be buyers wanting to buy in Wanganui."
New REINZ monthly figures show the median house sale price for Wanganui increased 7.7 per cent during February to $182,000 - up 12.3 per cent from the same month last year.
The number of sales surged nearly 30 per cent to 61 last month - an 8.9 per cent year-on-year lift.
Last month, 6125 dwellings sold nationwide, down 7.6 per cent on last February.
The national median price rose $33,000 to $415,000 compared to last February and was up $13,000 or 3.2 per cent on January this year.