House builders and buyers are creating a buzz on Whangarei's Tutukaka coast, as Aucklanders and expats have ramped up purchases of coastal property this year.

Several large homes have been built on the coast and a number of substantial residential projects are scheduled for next year. House buyers were mainly from Auckland but there was significant interest from the lower North Island.

Ngunguru-based builder Ken Topp employs eight and says he has not had any downturn in business. Some 70 per cent of building projects were holiday homes, mostly for Aucklanders, and people living overseas.

Mark Dobbs, northern board representative on the Certified Builders Association, said while the building scene was active on Whangarei's coast, "town's still quiet," but he expects the current upturn in Auckland's economy will have a positive effect on the north next year.


Darrell Trigg of Trigg Construction says he's hearing there's "good solid enquiry" about building projects. "This means lot of projects have been on hold for a long time and now people are saying 'let's get stuck in, this is the right time'."

Peter Vink, manager of the Tutukaka Coast Ray White Allens office, says: "People from, say, the Wellington/Wairarapa area like the climate, the low earthquake risk and that the coast hasn't been over-developed. They're likely to have made repeat visits over the years before buying and come to appreciate how nice it really is.

"Most of these people are between 45 and 55, pretty affluent, with disposable income. They will have been keeping a really close eye on the market for the past 12-18 months. They're very well-educated and they know exactly what the value is, regardless of CV figures," he said.

"A lot of interest is coming from people who are finding life in Auckland very busy and stressful, and are now in a position to spend extended weekends in the north. The trend is being encouraged by the fact that it's a relatively quick commute if they have to get back to Auckland in a hurry for unscheduled meetings and fast broadband means they can attend to business while they are up at the coast."

Whangarei District Council building compliance manager Bruce Rogers says there has been a noticeable pick-up in building works, mostly in new house builds. Particularly strong growth had been noted in the Ruakaka through to Waipu coastal area with complex and expensive houses being built close to the coastal areas. "I speculate that a fair bit of Auckland money is coming into the coast now, based on our observations and mix of owners," he said.