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Where are house prices still rising?

If you wanted capital gains in the past year, a cheap part of Rotorua would have been your best bet.

An analysis by Homes.co.nz shows that Fordlands, in Rotorua, had the biggest year-on-year property value increases, with its median price rising from $132,997 in September 2016 to $181,003 this week.

That is an increase in price of 36.1 per cent. Fordlands was named as the country's most deprived area in an Auckland University study this year.

That was followed by Taumarunui, which saw prices rise from a median $76,515 last year to $103,390 this year, or 35.12 per cent, and Frimley, in Hastings, where prices rose 32.87 per cent from a median $389,243 to $517,187.

"It's a far cry from the growth rates of 2015, but some suburbs in New Zealand are still going strong," said Homes.co.nz spokesman Jeremy O'Hanlon.

"If you were an investor looking solely at capital gains, you'd be looking in an area that hasn't had a lot of property growth. Ruapehu district and Hastings stand out."

They out-performed the fastest-growing Auckland suburbs of Wellsford, up 8.56 per cent, Lynfield, up 8.09 per cent and Mellons Bay and Omaha, up 7.39 per cent.

Wellington's fastest-growing area was Churton Park, up 18.11 per cent. Belfast was the biggest growth area in Christchurch, up 6.23 per cent.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said although prices had cooled in the main centres, they were still increasing in smaller areas as a result of a "ripple-through" effect.

When the bigger areas started to seem not to offer as much value, buyers moved their focus further afield, he said.

"There's a repricing coming through. One factor that is likely to be at play is that we've seen quite strong population pressure.

There's a rising tide effect coming through. We are seeing price growth generally slow up and down the country but it happens in different stages in different parts of the country."

Infometrics forecaster Mieke Welvaert agreed price rises in bigger towns had started to rub off on smaller neighbours.

"Even though house price growth in Hamilton and Tauranga has cooled, houses in these areas are not affordable for everyone.

As a result, people are going to look at commuting from places nearby where the house prices are still good value," she said.

"We've also seen good job growth within areas such as South Waikato and Rotorua which has helped drive up demand for housing in these areas.

Rotorua also has the added advantage of being commutable to both Tokoroa and the Bay of Plenty.

"Opotiki is benefiting from there being pretty good job prospects in Whakatane, but there is also a positive outlook for the local economy with local and regional councils are investing in the harbour for the local aquaculture industry."

She said Lower Hutt was appealing as a cheaper option for Wellington buyers because it was well-connected to the central city.

Hawke's Bay was buoyed by its strong primary sector and employers increasing their presence there.

"Kiwibank opened up a major office a few years ago, Xero has a satellite office in Napier.

This trend reflects that its cheaper to beef up regional offices than a CBD tenancy and doing so is more likely to retain staff."

O'Hanlon said Queenstown was another stand-out part of the country.

The five suburbs of Queenstown all grew more than 20 per cent over the past year.

Tuffley said there was strong population growth there and tourism pressure – Airbnb also boosted the demand for Queenstown property, he said.

Welvaert said the Queenstown effect was being felt more widely.

"Population growth in the Queenstown-Lakes District is at around 7 per cent and demand for housing in the area is very strong.

At the same time, a lot of new houses are coming on board.

More than a thousand consents were issued for the Queenstown-Lakes district in the past year ... To put this figure into context, there were more consents issued for the Queenstown-lakes District than for Wellington City.

At the moment however, demand in the Queenstown-Lakes is insatiable and we can't build quick enough. "

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