It's good news for home owners and even better news for real estate agents.
But for those hoping to sign up for a mortgage this year, the latest house price rises won't be received well.
Residential house prices were up in all but one of the country's regions at the end of last year and Hawke's Bay recorded one of the biggest leaps. Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) compared December prices to what they were in the same month last year and found Hawke's Bay prices up 9.4 per cent to a median of $290,000.
The national median of $360,000 was up 9.6 per cent on the $328,500 recorded at the end of 2008.
The best news from the figures was for home owners in Nelson/Marlborough, whose house prices had increased 14.5 per cent to $343,500, followed by Southland
up 10.8 per cent to $184,000 and then Hawke's Bay.
But in Hawke's Bay, the rise in prices was not enough to have home owners rushing to sell.
REINZ Hawke's Bay representative Murray Keane said the number of sales for Hawke's
Bay was still low compared with previous years.
"It shows there are still a lot of unsatisfied buyers out there, there's still not enough stock [houses] for sale,'' Mr Keane said.
He expected things to start changing once people returned from their summer holidays and 2010 was already shaping up to be a better year for the industry.
"The phone is starting to ring again and that's good,'' he said.
"Over the last weekend, I had calls from investors and first-home buyers and there are people looking at the top end of the market.''
REINZ national president Peter McDonald said an appreciating market fuelled by a short
age of properties for sale had him feeling optimistic about 2010.
"House prices have definitely stabilised and appear to be slightly gaining, which is a positive sign,'' Mr McDonald said.
He was worried there were less than 5000 residential properties sold in December but said the sale time of 33 days was one of the shortest for the year.
The total value of house sales in New Zealand in December was $2.15 billion, which came from the sale of 4957 houses.
In Hawke's Bay, the total value was $61,005,750, from the sale of 182 houses which took 42 median days to sell.