The Bay of Plenty's "hidden paradise" is attracting a lot of attention from buyers keen to own a beachfront home, contributing to the Western Bay's 21 per cent rise in property values.
The latest QV monthly house price index showed values continued to increase in the Bay - with Tauranga registered valuer David Hume singling out Pukehina as a suburb with "exponential growth".
"The popular beachside location along Pukehina Parade has seen exceptional growth over the past six months with older holiday baches on half sites now selling for $350,000 to $400,000 up from $250,000 12 months ago."
The Western Bay's values increased 21.1 per cent year-on-year in January and were now at an average value of $575,089. Tauranga's values rose 20.7 per cent in the same period and were now at an average $672,752.
Mr Hume said the Tauranga market continued to rise but at a slightly slower rate than prior to the LVR restrictions introduced late last year. Home values in Tauranga City were up by 20.7 per cent year on year. The average value in the city is now $672,752.
"It appears 2017 has gotten off to a solid start in the housing market with improved attendance at open homes and a number of acceptable pre-auction offers now people have returned from holiday."
Ray White Te Puke owner Rochelle Carter said she had recently bought in Pukehina and it was a "unique little settlement" that was attracting people from all over the world.
"Our vendors are not just New Zealanders, we've got vendors in Australia, China, Americans, people that actually have a bach in Pukehina and will visit it at Christmas or Easter time.
"It's a little piece of paradise. I liken Pukehina to old Omaha in Auckland. It's a very special place."
She loved the suburb and said there was nowhere else like it in New Zealand.
"On New Year's night, you could look out and see 100 fires. Nowhere else in the country can you do that. Everyone is very respectful, the locals are really very proud of their beach and really look after it.
"There's nothing really bad I can say about it. There's a great neighbourhood watch, a lot of people are buying in Pukehina to retire.
"Before the market slumped, before the recession, Pukehina properties were around $1 million. The market has certainly passed that again."
Ms Carter said the time on market in Pukehina was "unbelievable" - one house listed on Saturday was sold the same day, and this was not uncommon.
"People are just bursting to get into Pukehina, They want to be on our database and want to know when a property comes to market.
"That stretch of beach is as good as Mount Maunganui and Papamoa."
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services, which runs the Bayleys and Eves agencies, said the growth in Pukehina was another symptom of people looking further afield for beachfront property.
"If you were wanting to live along the coast or the beach, then certainly a few years ago the Mount was in the middle of the radar screen and, for a number of reasons such as traffic and cost of the property market, people look further afield.
"That's why Waihi Beach for example has been benefiting from that for the last five or six years. Further along, Ohope Beach has benefited as well. Pukehina is another example of people who want to live in coastal Bay of Plenty and in their view, Pukehina represents value for money."
Looking at the Western Bay as a whole, Mr Stanway said in the last quarter of 2016, sales volumes had decreased compared to the last quarter of 2015 and average sales prices had risen by about $100,000.
This did not mean house prices had risen by $100,00, but that more houses were being sold in a higher price bracket than previously, which had a lot to do with the loan-to-value ratio lending restrictions introduced to cool the Auckland market.
First National Real Estate chief executive Bob Brereton said strong sales of holiday homes around New Zealand may mark the beginning of renewed interest in coastal investment property as investors continue to look outside Auckland for opportunities.
Mr Brereton said offices in Whangamata, Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Waihi were experiencing strong sales interest and securing listings was an ongoing problem.