Queues of buyers are being forced to stand outside open homes and wait their turn as local estate agents report record buyer interest for May in some beachside Coromandel towns.

"There has definitely been a change in interest in the market - in Pauanui it has gone crazy," Harcourts agent Alyce Rowe said.

She advertised an open home on Wednesday and had nine groups outside on Saturday - highly unusual for this time of year.

"We're experiencing interest more like January-February," said Alyce, who has sold properties promoted with video during alert level 4 lockdown.


Agents were reporting the most activity for a May month on record.

"Had an excellent auction on Saturday which confirms there has been no change in the marketplace," Whangamata Real Estate principal Murray Cleland said.

An auction under level 2 rules on Saturday reached a $1.45 million sale for a one-back-from-beach older home.

"Our guys sold two or three more. The market is still rolling along and similar things are happening in Whiritoa and Onemana. All the doom and gloom people saying real estate would drop by up to 10 per cent - it's certainly not happening where we are."

Whangamata was experiencing a boom before level 4 lockdown. While buyers had different circumstances, they were predominantly from Auckland and Hamilton, with people looking for lifestyle changes.

Interest has also been sparked by people looking to work from home after the
success of doing so during the lockdown, said agents.

"I've noticed a huge number of people realising they can work from home, and people who would normally travel overseas for a few months of the year now think they won't be able to travel for the next few years and want a beach bach," Alyce said.

Other buyers were those interested in lifestyle blocks, expats looking to return home, or those interested in early retirement on the Coromandel.


Most agents said they were desperate for listings. In Pauanui, an open home on Saturday brought four groups through and three offers by Wednesday - all three above the asking price.

Gordon Turner of First National was advising anyone keen to sell to list now - and not to wait.

"I think it's still going to be a tough winter for us. I'm an optimist but after 30 years doing this and 20 odd years in this market ... I can see there's probably going to be a slurry of listings in early spring that could have an impact on prices.

"I don't think we will see the financial impact of the shutdown until July-mid August," Turner said.

However his agents - in Waihi Beach, Whiritoa, Whangamata and Tairua - were selling to a market not as impacted as others.

"Ours are businesspeople, or cashed-up coming to move here. I think on the coast we will be reasonably resilient simply because all of the people becoming unemployed are not usually our clientele."

Ray White Whangamata principal Reuben van Dorsten said his team were seeing large numbers of buyer inquiries and website views.

"Historically low interest rates and the government handing out money, coupled with New Zealanders living overseas who have returned home, means many are cashed up and ready to go," he said.

"According to our mortgage partners, pre-approval numbers are at their highest in years.

"We also have very low listing numbers, owners are uncertain of what the market is doing."