Home seekers are turning to the regions while interest in big cities is waning, according to fresh data.
Industry website realestate.co.nz shows that in February the top regions where people were searching for houses were the Hawke's Bay, Otago, Gisborne and Manawatu-Whanganui, where asking prices are still catching up.
In Auckland, meanwhile, the average asking price for an apartment hit a record high of $711,892, although it was still more obtainable than the average asking price for a house ($950,446, up 0.8 per cent on the previous month).
Interest in Auckland listings fell almost 11 per cent.
"For many buyers, it could well be a matter of embracing apartment living, accepting the reality of today's asking prices, or looking to move or invest in another region," the website's spokeswoman Vanessa Taylor said.
Some steam also appeared to be coming out of the hot Wellington market, with viewings on realestate.co.nz's website falling by nearly 19 per cent in the last three months compared to the same time last year.
Asking prices in Wellington levelled out at $559,569, up 0.5 per cent on the previous month.
The figures echo data from QV, which showed property prices in Auckland and Christchurch had dipped slightly as lending restrictions weighed on the market.
ASB economist Kim Mundy said the realestate.co.nz figures also showed that inventory was starting to rise, even in the tightest market, Wellington.
"We expect housing activity to continue to cool over 2017 and, as a result, inventory levels could continue to climb slightly higher," he said.
"However, from a historical perspective inventory levels remain very low and, combined with strong population growth, this will continue to support house prices."
Realestate.co.nz said it was interesting to see what one could get for the same price as an Auckland apartment in the new regional hotspots.
In Hawke's Bay you could get an architecturally designed three-bedroom home on more than 7.5 hectares of farmland, including a paddock for horses.
In Gisborne, one could buy an Edwardian home set in more than 8.5 hectares, with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a billiard room, swimming pool, tennis court and guest cottage in park-like gardens.
"A drop in big city demand shows us that it's not just retirees who could be considering cashing up and moving away from cities like Auckland," Taylor said.
Job growth in all four hot regions was also considerably stronger than a year ago, according to seek.co.nz.
Job ads in January were up 16 per cent in Hawke's Bay, 24 per cent in Otago, 42 per cent in Gisborne and 4 per cent in the Manawatu.
Hot regions' asking prices:
* Otago, down 5.5 per cent to $339,334; interest in listings up 8.6 per cent.
* Manawatu-Whanganui, down 3.8 per cent to $298,684; interest up 23.6 per cent.
* Gisborne, up 5.6 per cent to $323,075; interest up 17 per cent
* Hawke's Bay, up 0.4 per cent to $415,161; interest up 7.5 per cent.