Demand in Tauranga's million-dollar property market post-Covid-19 lockdown has helped one real estate agency sell eight homes over $1 million just this month and another has hundreds of buyers on its books wanting a slice of Tauranga's luxury property.
Inquiries from Auckland buyers have ramped up post-lockdown and one agency had thousands of viewings of its online listings from overseas buyers each week.
Despite new analysis of Tauranga's property market showing a slight drop in sales over $1m in the first half of 2020 compared to last year, agents were reporting a "significantly busier" million-dollar market.
Cam Winter and Jason Eves, of Oliver Road Estate Agents, said with the exception of the obvious slowdown in buyer and seller activity during lockdown they were now significantly busier than last year.
"Inquiries from Auckland buyers have noticeably increased since the end of lockdown with many either actively shopping or planning a future move and starting to seek an introduction to our suburbs and their markets.
"We currently have 316 purchasers on our books who have indicated their desire to purchase a property in the $1.5m to $3m price range in the past few months."
The pair said the Mount market remained steady and continued to attract out-of-town and local buyers.
"What we haven't seen recently is a really significant sale [$5m-plus] in Marine Parade or Pilot Bay, despite a number of high-net-worth buyers hoping to convert their surplus cash into a real estate investment of this nature."
So far this year, Oliver Road had sold 10 homes between $1.75m and $3.1m in Tauranga.
Sotheby's International Realty Tauranga managing partner Richard Laery said there had been a steady demand in the city's market for properties over $1m.
"Our listings in this market have a wide appeal and attract buyers locally and nationally, but interestingly there has been an increase in international interest particularly since Covid-19," he said.
"Despite the predictions by some for a slowing of the property market we are seeing quite the reverse, in fact, a real appetite for spending in the property sector and also a cashing up for vendors who see the market as volatile."
Laery said the company was receiving more than 2000 web viewings on Bay properties from overseas per week.
"Marketing property internationally and attracting those ex-pats coming home – is a massive opportunity in this environment."
He said properties over $1m would continue to experience demand as low-interest rates were set to remain strong.
"This month alone we have sold eight unconditional properties over $1m and one over $3m out of Tauranga alone.
"We've had a number of big sales this year from our team with one sale north of $3m and two north of $2m. Two lifestyle properties and one waterfront property."
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's Million Dollar Price Report showed 212 properties have sold for $1m-plus in the first half of 2020 - and three sold for $3m or more. That was down from 217 recorded in the first half of 2019.
Reinz chief executive Bindi Norwell said sea and lake views continued to be a driving factor in million-dollar-plus properties sold in the Bay during the past six months.
Norwell said, naturally, many of the top sales occurred in Marine Parade in the Mount.
"While on the face of it, the number of million-dollar plus sales has fallen when compared to the same period last year, in actual fact the percentage of million-dollar plus properties has actually increased," she said.
Tauranga City had 17.6 per cent of all properties over $1m compared to 15.2 per cent last year.
"Part of this uplift in top-end property sales can be attributed to pent-up demand post lockdown," Norwell said.
"But it's also underpinned by some strong fundamentals including low-interest rates and the temporary removal of LVRs which has made it a great time to purchase for both first-time buyers and investors."
OneRoof/Valocity's figures showed 118 residential and lifestyle properties settled for $1m-plus in the first half of 2020 down from 217 last year - and two sold for $3m or more down from 8 last year.
Valocity director of valuation and innovation James Wilson said luxury high-end sales had been plateauing before the onset of Covid-19.
"However, since Covid-19 has occurred, we have seen an increasingly cautious mindset being adopted among owner-occupiers in the mid-to-high $1m price brackets, who have adopted a wait-and-see approach.
"This has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of transactions above $1m in Tauranga, especially evident in Mount Maunganui."
OneRoof editor Owen Vaughan said there had been a slowdown in property selling for $2m-plus.
"It seems to be these properties are owned by people who aren't going to make rash decisions unless they are under pressure," he said.
"If you can afford to hold on to your property to get a premium price you're going to do it."
Four subdivided lots on a 1583sq m land block on Oceanbeach Rd were currently up for sale.
The asking price for lot 1 closest to the road is $795,000, and $2,795,000 for lot 4 on the beachfront.
Bayleys Mount Maunganui salespeople Janelle and Kay Ganley sold the land, which has been vacant for about 50 years, to TYBI Limited in July last year and it has since been subdivided into four lots to onsell.
Chief executive officer of Bayleys and Eves Realty Bay of Plenty, Heath Young, did not wish to comment specifically on the Oceanbeach Rd property but said land availability in the Mount was "very scarce".
Young said many properties had been through subdivision or renovation and rebuild to maximise sites.
"The land that is available is often keenly contested at higher values than other parts of the Bay of Plenty."
He said the market had been "running hot" in the Mount for the past year and demand had carried through into recent months post-lockdown.
"The Mount is popular because it has New Zealand's best beach on its doorstep and is hugely popular with those that are new to the area."
Reinz: Tauranga's top 5 sales in first half of 2020
171 Doncaster Drive
Withheld as sale hasn't settled
210 Oceanbeach Rd
355a Oceanbeach Rd
126 Oceanbeach Rd
Source: Real Estate Institution of New Zealand
OneRoof: Tauranga's top 5 sales in the first half of 2020
193a Marine Parade
210 Oceanbeach Rd
126 Oceanbeach Rd
133a Marine Parade
14 Strange Grove