Maori Hill, in Dunedin, has become the city's first half million dollar suburb by average value, while towns and suburbs around Queenstown and Wanaka have now pushed beyond $550,000 and Arrowtown to more than $800,000.

Aside from the seven hot spots around Otago, the province's other 20 towns and suburbs have all been making more modest gains over the past couple of years, according to quarterly figures released to the ODT by government agency Quotable Value.

QV is the latest property agency to report anecdotes of Auckland investors eyeing up the South, where rental yields outstrip those available in the North, even though capital gains may be more modest.

QV's registered valuer in Dunedin, Duncan Jack, said the highest percentage of value growth was in the city's more affordable suburbs, reflecting that most of the sales activity and demand was occurring at the lower end of the market.

The best performing suburbs, for the quarter to June, were some of the city's more affordable suburbs such as St Kilda and Mornington, which was indicative of the high level of activity at that lower end of the market.

Maori Hill was now Dunedin's first half million dollar suburb, moving from $497,950 in June to $501,700 for July, he said.

St Clair, while declining 0.3% in value from June, was next highest in the city at $407,200 for July, the sole $400,000+ entry.

''Maori Hill is traditionally one of Dunedin's most popular suburbs and this desirability is due to the suburb's substantial homes, the sought after location and its proximity to good school zones,'' he said.

For the past two years, all the 27 towns and suburbs followed by QV made price gains, from South Dunedin, up 1.7% to $189,250, to Fernhill, which shot up the most at 15.3%, to $553,350.

Of the 27, just five were down on their values since the peak of the market in October 2007: Alexandra ( 0.5%), Cromwell ( 0.2%), Caversham ( 3%), St Kilda ( 0.9%) and South Dunedin ( 2.7%).

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