Wellington is leading the way in the surging property market. The hot Wellington housing market has now overtaken Auckland, with September figures from QV showing Wellington house sales and prices have risen more than 21 percent over the past year. The average house price in Wellington has now passed the $550,000 mark.

QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said that property values in Wellington have risen faster than in the Auckland region for the past three months. The region’s market is racing to catch up with the growing demand and some of Wellington’s traditional working class suburbs are among the biggest movers.

CoreLogic senior research analyst Nick Goodall said that after years of flat or minimal growth, the Wellington property market stirred into life late last year. While growth had been greater in Wellington city, there had also been strong growth across the wider region, Mr Goodall said.

Ms Rush said sales in Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga were easing due to tighter lending measures imposed on banks by the Reserve Bank which was beginning to have an impact on demand but yet to flow through strongly into values.

Wellington registered valuer David Cornford agreed that it was too early to say how much impact the latest LVR restrictions would have on the market. There had been some instances of panic buying, he said.

Auction numbers suggest that Wellington buyers are increasingly turning up to auctions as they try to use pre-approved finance before stricter minimum deposit requirements take effect. The directorv of one Lower Hutt real estate firm said an increasing number of people were choosing auctions because they had missed out on other properties, being out-tendered or out-negotiated by somebody else.

Based on September’s figures, the average Wellington house price now sits at $553,023.