• Steve Baron

Wanganui Housing: A Brief History of Houses for Sale Wanganui

Updated: Jan 9

Waimarie Paddle Steamer Whanganui River

The Whanganui housing market has long been a great place for New Zealanders and international investors alike to invest in real estate. In recent years, the extremely high prices of real estate in major cities such as Auckland and Wellington have resulted in a growth in the population of Whanganui, due to the affordability of houses for sale Wanganui, and Whanganui’s rich culture and history.

Houses for Sale Wanganui

Whanganui/Wanganui (formerly also called Petre) is located on the western coastline of the North Island of New Zealand. The city is in the Manawatū-Whanganui region and is primarily made up of 14 different suburbs: Whanganui East, Bastia Hill, Aramoho, Durie Hill, Pūtiki, Gonville, Castlecliff, Tawhero, St Johns Hill, Otamatea, College Estate, Westmere, Springvale and Whanganui central. The city has a population of approximately 48,000 at the time of writing.

Houses for Sale Marton

Marton/Tutaenui is a town in the Manawatū-Whanganui region with a population of approximately 5,500. It is situated 35 km southeast of Whanganui, and 40 km northwest of Palmerston North. Marton is most notable as a historic service town for nearby farming regions, producing wool, butter and flour amongst other agricultural products.


According to Opes Partners, a reputable property investment company in New Zealand, over the last 28 years the median house price in the region of Manawatū-Whanganui has been 61.7% of New Zealand’s median house price. This means there is an opportunity for investors to purchase in the region, and to make great returns.

Over the last 21 years, houses for sale Castlecliff has been the suburb with the fastest-growing prices of houses for sale Wanganui, at 9.7% per year. That is 17% faster than the median house price for the whole region. In contrast, the suburb that grew the slowest over the same period was St John’s Hill, which grew at a rate of 7.6% per year.

Historical House Prices

Rising houses prices

The area around the mouth of the Whanganui River was a major site of pre-European Māori settlement; the New Zealand Company first settled there in 1840. The region was officially named Wanganui in 1854.

Pandemics and epidemics through the first two decades of the 20th century were largely to thank for the beginnings of thorough housing legislation in New Zealand. The Housing Act of 1919 specified the conditions of housing for workers and the sanitation requirements of property for sale Wanganui, and indeed the rest of the country.

Town planning didn’t become a fully-fledged practice until the 1960s, and throughout this time the rate of construction of houses for sale Wanganui and the rest of New Zealand increased. Investment in the Whanganui housing market accelerated from the 1970s onwards, as did house prices.

In the early 1970s, the occurrence of new houses coming on to the market, rising inflation and a rise in immigration resulted in a bigger surge in house prices. The number of new houses being built gradually slowed, and demand started to consistently outstrip supply.

When adjusted for CPI, the prices of houses for sale Wanganui and the rest of the country remained fairly constant from the late 1970s until the early 1990s, when prices began to rise steadily until the year 2000 and then took off.

2000 – 2008

St Johns Hill Wanganui Kitchen

In early 2000 the most expensive property for sale were houses for sale St John’s Hill, with a median property price of $135,900, which is $532,300 below the current figure. The most affordable suburb was Castlecliff at a median price of $56,500.

The range of property values across the Whanganui housing market in 2000 was just $79,400 in comparison to the 2021 range of $419,550. This suggests that, although houses for sale Marton and Whanganui have increased significantly in price throughout the last 21 years, they have not done so proportionately across the suburbs.

In May 2002 the median house price in Otamatea was first recognised and immediately overtook all other suburbs with a median house price of $198,800. It remains the most expensive suburb to this day.

In the same month, the second most expensive suburb, St John’s Hill, had an average house price of $134,800. The most affordable suburb of the time, Castlecliff, had remained more-or-less the same throughout these years.

From 2002 onwards, houses for sale Marton and Whanganui increased sharply in price until a peak in early 2008 when the Whanganui housing market, and indeed the New Zealand real estate market as a whole, began to feel the effects of the global financial crisis.

2008 - 2018

Early 2008 marked the beginning of a gradual decline in the prices of houses for sale Wanganui, with Otamatea seeing the biggest fluctuations from 2008 to mid-2015. The Whanganui housing market would not recover to its all-time high in this suburb until the very end of 2016 when house prices began to skyrocket.

This is the case for the majority of houses for sale Marton and throughout Whanganui suburbs, which have all seen sharp increases from 2016 until today when they are still increasing.

2018 – 2020

At the beginning of 2018, the suburb with the greatest median price was Otamatea, where a property would set you back on average $481,200, which is $187,000 less than it would today. The suburbs with the most affordable housing were Whanganui central and Castlecliff, with median house prices of $185,450 and $169,250 respectively.

Over the next three years, the median price of a property in Otamatea would rise to a considerable $713,000, and Castlecliff would leapfrog Whanganui, whose median house price had risen to $350,950.

2021 Onwards

The median price of houses for sale Wanganui and across the Manawatū-Whanganui region at the end of 2021 was $610,000.

Opes Partners Real Estate Wanganui

According to Opes Partners, the most expensive suburb is currently Otamatea, which has a median house price of $840,550. St Johns Hill, College Estate, Bastia Hill, Pūtiki, Westmere, Durie Hill, Springvale, Tawhero, Whanganui East, Aramoho, Gonville and Whanganui central following in descending order. The most affordable suburb is Castlecliff, which has a median house price of $421,000.

According to a report published by Statistica in September 2021, the Manawatū-Whanganui region of New Zealand experienced the greatest annual change in average residential house prices, at 35.4%. There is currently no sign of a Whanganui housing market crash on the horizon, which is one of the reasons that it is considered a brilliant place for investors to purchase real estate in 2022.

About the Author

​Steve Baron is the Founder & CEO of Whanganui Mansions. He is a former successful real estate agent and property investor when based in Auckland and formerly the Managing Director of Baron Marketing Ltd, an advertising company he founded and ran for over 20 years.

He is a past mentor for Business Mentors NZ and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Waikato Majoring in Economics & Political Science. He also holds an Honours Degree from Victoria University of Wellington in Political Science.

He is a published author of three books and a prominent guest editorialist for newspapers throughout New Zealand. In his spare time, Steve is the Clerk of the Scales for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, is a Bridge Grandmaster and enjoys walking, running and cafes.