For sale: $5.5m home

By Natalie Dixon

A $5.5 million Marine Parade home last on the market more than half a century ago and a two-storey building on a 760m section overlooking Pilot Bay are among the prime beachfront properties up for grabs this summer.

More than 650 properties in Mount Maunganui and Papamoa are on the market, with local real estate agents reporting a string of sales and plenty of interest from buyers keen to invest in the Bay coast.

Prices start from just $225,000 for a one-bedroom apartment at the Mount, but real estate agents say it is the beachfront properties with price tags well over the million-dollar mark that are attracting the most interest, with Bay locals keen to compete with out-of-towners to snap up their dream property.

Harcourts principal officer Jenny Fowke said the number of sales was as high as it was at the peak of the market more than three years ago.

She said Bay locals were selling their homes and rental properties in a bid to compete with out-of-town buyers for prime beachfront properties.

"People are feeling a lot more secure at the moment. The kiwi dollar is high, the economy is looking positive and people who have been sitting on a property are now looking to upgrade," she said.

"There are some incredible properties available at the moment and we are seeing locals who are happy to sell up their homes and maybe a rental property or two to come up with the extra cash they need to buy their dream home right by the beach."

Competition is stiff, with overseas buyers seeking out properties online and a lot of interest from Auckland and cashed-up farmers in the Waikato, according to Eves Realty agent Julene Foster.

"Summer is a great time to sell, there is a lot of energy around and the Mount looks even more beautiful than normal," she said.

"People are coming here for holidays and they often check out the local real estate and end up buying a home."

One of the Mount properties for sale, 121 Marine Parade, has been in the same family for more than 60 years and was purchased just as the bulldozer was creating the road which became Marine Parade, according to Bayleys Tauranga salesperson Jan Hodges.

"The family is offering it up for sale for the first time.

"When they first purchased it the bloke who was creating the road that would become Marine Parade offered to take a bit of the sand dunes off in front of their house so they would have a better view. Can you imagine that happening these days? This sort of property will not last long. There is a lot of interest from locals who understand the value and the history behind it and from developers who see real potential.

"It is not very often a site like this becomes available."

Another site with Marine Parade frontage, which is on the market for the first time in 52 years, is expected to make as much as $5.5 million, with a lot of interest from locals and people in the Waikato, according to Ms Hodges.

"We are seeing some exceptional properties up for sale at the moment, some which only come up once in a lifetime.

"There are some great properties for savvy buyers keen to purchase their piece of paradise."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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