Aucklanders have been eyeing Tauranga properties with a "huge" number of inquiries from buyers in the country's biggest city wanting to relocate since new Covid-19 restrictions were announced.
Tauranga real estate agents say buyer inquiries from Auckland have always been strong but there had been some "extra attention", particularly in the last week.
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty Anton Jones said business had been busy since alert level 2 returned.
"The increase in inquiries from Auckland has been huge," he said.
"In general, people are really keen to get things completed."
Last month was a record for the company with buyers "getting back into the swing of things" but he said people were not paying big prices for property.
There had been a few unlucky buyers who listed their property just before the last lockdown and had just put their home back on the market in the last few days, he said.
But, Jones said alert level 2 and beyond was familiar territory.
"We've been through this before we know what we need to do."
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Bindi Norwell said there had been an uplift in inquiries from Aucklanders looking to move to the Bay.
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"The biggest obstacle they face at the moment is being unable to leave the Auckland region due to the level 3 lockdown.
"People have decided they just want to move for lifestyle reasons and Tauranga isn't that far away from Auckland."
The latest REINZ data showed the Bay had its busiest July in five years, with the number of properties sold jumping 23.7 per cent year-on-year, which Norwell said was bolstered by a big increase in sales volumes in Tauranga.
Tauranga's median house prices jumped 7.6 per cent to $710,000 from $660,000 year-on-year.
"We expect things to continue ... although the potential impact of Covid-19 will be at the back of people's minds."
Simon Anderson, managing director of Realty Group, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said inquiries from Auckland had always been strong.
Anderson said Auckland buyers unable to physically attend Thursday's auctions due to level 3 lockdown were bidding over the phone.
Generally, he said there had been no disruption to the market, with nine out of 12 properties selling at auction on Thursday.
"That is great news for the market that people are still transacting and are able to do so in level 2."
He said moving into level 2 went "seamlessly" with templates already in place from the last restrictions.
"It's business as usual given we have already been through it."
However, he said while buyer inquiries remained strong, stock availability had dropped.
A shift to level 3 or 4 will not have much of an impact, he said, as long as people were still able to transact.
"People still want to live here."
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin said there had been some "extra attention" from Auckland buyers after level 4.
Martin said with Auckland in level 3 it meant buyers there were thinking more seriously about moving into the regions.
"I think there will be more inquiries from Aucklanders in the future."
First National Real Estate business manager Cameron Hooper said there had been no change in Auckland buyer enquiry but a few enquiring previously had placed offers on property already.
Hooper said existing buyers had been quick to complete transactions amid fears of a looming lockdown.
"New purchasers have weighed up their own circumstances and are still deciding to transact with viewing enquires high this week under level 2 and purchasers keen to get something under offer."
But, he said, the impact of another lockdown will be "huge".
"We have been trading on positivity over the last couple of months since lockdown and with elections getting closer, a new potential outbreak added to the previous wage subsidies ending I sense we won't bounce back at quite the same rate as we did last time."
Oliver Road Estate Agents partner Cameron Winter said the company continued to receive significant inquiry levels from Auckland, far more so than before the first lockdown.
"Since the recent announcement, a couple of buyers have had to change their plans whereas others seem to have escaped down here before it came into effect."
Jason Eves of Oliver Rd said there was no apparent impact on the market since the return to level 2.
Although, he said, there was a clear assumption of a move up alert levels and people were considering how that might affect them.
"We will see property transactions slow or stop whilst lockdown prevents views and due diligence activities and then back to business with the possibility of the rebound we saw last time."