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Southern sales . . . The popularity of houses overlooking Lake Tekapo have contributed to an almost 25% increase in the value of Mackenzie district residential properties in the past year. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

Residential property values in the Mackenzie district have risen by almost 25% in the past year, the highest increase in the country, recent data shows.

The figures, from the QV house price index showed the value of houses in Mackenzie area had risen by 24.7%, bringing the average house price in the district to $511,978.

Geraldine-based real estate agent Audre Ramsay said people were buying lifestyle blocks, sections of land and family homes, as well as holiday houses.

“[There is] a huge demand.”

She said it was a bit hard to put a blanket figure on the cost of houses across the district, as sales ranged from small houses in Geraldine to $1million properties overlooking Lake Tekapo. Certainly in Tekapo they’re paying huge amounts.”

Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith said the value increase was “extremely positive” for the area, with more and more people wanting to move to the district.

“People are recognising what a wonderful place [the] Mackenzie is.”

He said house prices had gone up by 60% in Tekapo and 25% in Fairlie. Tekapo and Twizel were two of the top locations for buyers.

However, Mrs Ramsay predicted the values would fall in the coming months once the law banning foreign property investors was put in place.

“Locals would buy but they don’t buy at those high prices.

“I will be interested to see what happens.”

Mr Smith said the area’s popularity was a result of the region’s tourism, with more businesses opening up as the district’s broadband speeds improved and more tourists came to visit.

“[It is] extremely positive for our district.”

Mrs Ramsay estimated the average house price in Geraldine was about $400,000.

“Prices have gone up, but [they are] not out of reach.”

Overall, the national residential property values increased 6.6% or $41,660 during 2017 from $627,905 in December 2016 to $669,565 in December 2017.

This included a 3.6% increase in the final three months of last year, the data showed.

The value of residential properties in the Mackenzie had increased by 78.7% since 2007, compared with 22.7% for Waimate houses and 40.1% for Timaru properties in the past decade.

The average value of a house in Timaru now sat at $351,623, with a 5.1% increase in the past 12 months, while the average property value for a Waimate property had reached $231,430, an increase of 2.7%.

Waitaki properties were now valued at $288,202, an increase of just over 12% during 2017, and up 26.2% in the past decade.