Nearby coastal areas are reaping the benefits of a buoyant Auckland property market, with homeowners beginning to use extra equity to buy baches, experts say.
In yesterday's Property Report, property editorTony Verdon noted strong evidence of a robust market for coastal homes "as long as they are within a two to two-and-a-half hours' drive from Central Auckland".
Though prices in some coastal areas remained lower than the 2007 peak, they had begun to firm up, with the number of sales increasing.
In the Rodney area - which included Omaha, about one hour's drive from the city - Quotable Value figures showed prices sat at 15.2 per cent above the 2007 peak.
Demand was such that seven properties sold at the popular beach in September - where baches belong to notable Kiwis such as Prime Minister John Key, fashion designer Trelise Cooper, and Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker - four were sold within three days of going on the market.
Loan Market mortgage adviser Bruce Patten said though many coastal areas were still struggling compared with the boom in 2007, interest from people buying lifestyle properties, such as baches in Pauanui, was about five times greater than at the same time last year.
"The rationale has been that they can't find anything in the investment market to buy ... so they're now making the decision to do the lifestyle choice and buy a second home."
Auckland property values have risen by 34 per cent on average since 2011, according to the latest Auckland Council revaluation notices, with many homeowners taking out new loans for boats, cars and house renovations on the back of their newfound equity.
"We're certainly not seeing a rise in coastal property values, but with people having equity, the flow-on is that they will go and spend it in those sort of situations," Mr Patten said.
However, people were still being conservative, he said. "It's nothing like it was in 2007 where people were just ramping up and buying everything from cars and investment properties to baches."
In the Coromandel, Whangamata Real Estate principal agent Murray Cleland said about 90 per cent of people buying baches at the beach town were from Auckland, while it used to be a 50-50 split between Aucklanders and Waikato residents.
"That's just due to the Auckland market being so buoyant - people have obviously got extra funds to spend."
He said improvements in roading between Auckland and the peninsula had also been a big factor - including the 2011 replacement of a one-lane bridge controlled by traffic lights that caused serious traffic delays - making the area more attractive.
The Whangamata property market had strengthened as a result, with prices now set to increase.
Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said she had seen a jump in people taking advantage of high Auckland prices by selling up and moving somewhere cheaper, like northern Hamilton or Tauranga, freeing up cash in the process.
The move towards buying holiday homes in coastal areas was "currently not a surge, but a trickle".
In coastal areas like Omaha, Whangamata and Waiheke Island, there was evidence of prices and volumes going up recently, but it was a seasonal pattern that had been picking up since 2011. "It's positive, but we're a long way away from the 2007 days."
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