Demand for new housing sections in Tauranga is running hot, boosted by Aucklanders, with one developer selling 25 lots last month within 27 minutes of releasing them.
Golden Sands Papamoa sales manager Mark Day said he hadn't seen such demand since a decade ago.
"The last time would have been in 2003 when they sold over 60 in one day and they had to have a ballot."
Mr Day said the demand was reflective of the market rather than a particular phenomenon at Golden Sands. He said the number of Aucklanders buying sections at the eastern Papamoa subdivision had increased markedly this year.
"We've seen those numbers go from a bit of a trickle to a bit of a flood, people coming in thick and fast.
"Everyone's talking about the elusive Auckland buyer but they're definitely here and coming in numbers because they're able to sell a house up in Auckland for $650,000 to $750,000 where they may have purchased it in 2005 for $450,000.
They can bring the margin with them, keep their mortgages the same and buy a brand new four-bedroom house for $450,000."
Tauranga Harcourts franchise owner Max Martin said he had seen the demand for sections rise from Papamoa "right through to Omokoroa".
"You will find these [sections] are not the minimum deposit one either," Mr Martin said. One of those Aucklanders buying up is Cameron Vaughan, who moved with his family earlier this year with plans of calling Papamoa home. Mr Vaughan said he was keen to have his children schooled in Papamoa.
"We have lived down here before and work had taken us back to Auckland."
Mr Vaughan helps build superyachts but as the industry began to quieten down, the family considered a move back.
"The property market in Auckland was scorching hot and we'd been in older homes, damp homes," he said.
"We really wanted the opportunity to build our own. Plus, the lifestyle down here is extremely desirable."
The family was renting at Papamoa and their home is expected to be completed by December 1.
The Lakes sales manager Simon Maxwell said section sales had been solid over winter, with 12 sections sold in both July and August. Mr Maxwell also said Auckland buyers were spilling over into the Tauranga market. Two out-of-town buyers had put in multiple offers on a section sold this week, he said.
"We haven't heard that word [multiple offers] here for about five years, which is great."
Federation Homes sales consultant Bruce Matthews said the market had gone "berserk", with the company signing eight contracts in the last nine weeks.
"Land which has been sitting around for a long time is suddenly just taking off. I saw this sort of boom in 1989 in Auckland, I suspect it may last another 18 months."
Generation Homes' Stefan McNeely said Papamoa sections had been taking off for them since Christmas and Katikati was also attracting interest.
SmartGrowth Property Developer Forum chair Jeff Fletcher said Tauranga developers said there was strong, sustainable demand for properties. Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services which runs Bayleys and Eves, said there had been a significant increase over the past six months.