The house market remains subdued with value growth dragged down by prices in Auckland and Christchurch.
The latest data from QV shows values rose 1.2 percent over the past three months, or 7.3 percent in the year to March, with growth in the major cities slowed further while more affordable provincial centres outperformed.
The national average price is $677,618.
QV national spokesperson Andrea Rush said national values rose at the fastest annual rate in the past nine months, but sales volumes were lower than usual for March.
Auckland prices rose just 1 percent, compared with growth of 12.3 percent last year, while Christchurch's values continued to fall slightly, down 0.6 percent on last year.
"The rate of growth has also slowed in the Wellington region from 21.2 percent in March 2017 to 8.2 percent in March 2018," she said, adding that Tauranga and Hamilton markets were still rising but at much slower rates than the previous two years.
"Residential property value growth remains subdued compared to recent years but March has seen the usual seasonal pick-up in sales volumes and activity.
"It's the regions that continue to see the highest value growth driven by demand from people looking for more affordable homes or investment properties outside of the main centres," Ms Rush said.
The highest quarterly growth was seen in eastern Bay of Plenty town, Opotiki, where values rose 16 percent.
"With restrictions on finance being eased by the retail banks it's been a little easier for some investors and home buyers to gain finance to purchase," she said.
"First home buyers appear to be capitalising on subdued investor activity and some are finding they can purchase more easily without the same level of competition from multiple property owners if they are not already priced out of the market."