There is further evidence that higher prices for housing outside Auckland are on the cards this year.
The Real Estate Institute (REINZ) said the pace of selling outside Auckland and Canterbury/Westland, the two main population centres, was picking up fast.
Stocks of housing on the market or "inventory" had "significantly declined" between December 2014 and December last year, shrinking from 40.3 weeks to 20.5 weeks.
The housing inventory is measured by the number of weeks it would take to clear the backlog of properties on the market.
REINZ also looked at the number of days taken to sell a house, which fell nationally from an average of 43 days to 31 days, a fall of 28 per cent.
Economist Shamubeel Eaqub said regional housing markets were improving because of low interest rates, more affordable prices, and banks being forced to lend outside Auckland.
"We've had seven years of pretty hard going in terms of house prices ... and now that we have a very deliberate shift in lending policy from the Reserve Bank, it's not surprising we're seeing that.
"As long as there is some growth in rents and some growth in those cashflows, regardless of what happens to house prices, there are much better investment propositions in every other part of New Zealand pretty much except for Auckland."
But with so much pent-up demand, he did not think Auckland's housing run had finished yet.
"There are just so much people waiting in the wings. For the last seven years there were people who've been saving up deposits who were just right for last year. If prices come back, I think they'll pop right back into the market."
The decline in inventory was more than 30 per cent in some regions including Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Wanganui, Taranaki, Wellington and Southland.
However, Northland led the way with a 60 per cent reduction in inventory to 36.1 weeks (down 57 weeks). It was followed by Central Otago/Lakes (21.2 weeks, down 29 weeks) and Hawkes Bay (14.1 weeks, down 20 weeks).
Auckland's inventory improved by 14 per cent to 12.1 weeks, up from 10.6 weeks.
Northland was also the most improved region when it came to days to sell, which fell from 59 days to 39.
Southland was the next best, down from 47 to 29 days to sell, and Hawkes Bay from 48 to 33 days.
Wellington's housing market was also clearly gaining steam, with inventory falling from 17.6 weeks to 8.5 weeks, and days to sell down eight days to 28.By contrast, Auckland house sales were taking two extra days (31), and Canterbury/Westland gained one day (30).
REINZ chief executive Colleen Milne said its figures showed "just how broad the growth of the real estate market has become outside the two main population centres of Auckland and Canterbury".
"Two years ago the picture was very much reversed with both Auckland and Canterbury seeing rapid declines in the levels of inventory and low numbers of days to sell.
"Now we are seeing the situation reverse with big falls in the number of days to sell coming from the regions, while the two main population centres see some relaxation in the level of inventory."
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