A property analyst believes it is going to get harder for residents in Christchurch's red zone to get back into the housing market.
Those whose earthquake-damaged homes have been red-zoned have been offered a Government buyout at 2007 prices - but with the average house price now just 0.4% below that level it is becoming difficult to replace like for like.
Quotable Value says prices in Christchurch have risen 5.5% over the past year and 1.4% in the past three months.
Jono Ingerson, research director for the QV company Property IQ, says because values in the west and north are increasing faster than in the east, people in the red zone may not have a large enough payout to buy into another area.
However, a local real estate agent is finding that those who left condemned houses in eastern suburbs after the quakes are looking to return.
Lynette McFadden, of Harcourts, says people say they miss the sense of community.
Ms McFadden says buyers on the Port Hills are not leaving for the flat areas, but rather are moving into other hillside suburbs.