House prices in Whangamata, Waihī, and Waihī Beach have reached record highs as beachfront living attracts remote workers and people reassessing their lifestyle options.
Agents believe the appeal of working from home is a major attraction and could also bring people from Auckland and Waikato looking for a lifestyle change.
Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show Waihī Beach had a median sale price increase of 50.3 per cent to $1.3 million compared with September last year, while Whangamata increased 60.7 per cent to $1.35m and Waihi increased 52.4 per cent to $701,000 over the same period.
Chief executive Jen Baird says beachside towns are always an attractive prospect.
"Add to that repeated Covid-19 lockdowns, the option to work remotely, and people reassessing their lifestyle options – whether that's relocating permanently or having a second home to escape to — and you get increased demand.
"On the flip side, across New Zealand we have seen a decrease in the amount of inventory on the market year on year in 2021. These factors combined will tend to see house prices rise."
Whangamata Real Estate principal Murray Cleland said there was a shortage of listings throughout the peninsula, which relied heavily on outside buyers from Auckland and the Waikato.
"That is a bit of a concern due to Covid, but as soon as the gate opens it will lift. In Whangamata, there is no more land and what we have got is what we have got, and prices have definitely taken off."
Cleland has been in the industry for 35 years and said this cycle was an interesting scenario because interest rates had never been lower and money was relatively easy to borrow.
First National Paradise Coast owner Gordon Turner said traditionally, this was the busiest time of the year "but we are only doing about a third of the turnover as a town".
Demand continued to outstrip supply.
He said in his view, restrictions brought in by the Reserve Bank and the Government were influencing the marketplace.
"I don't know how they think they are going to stop this cycle, that will only happen when confidence runs out."
Harcourts Waihi/Waihi Beach principal Greg Shepherd said despite the shortage of listings, it has had "exceptional success with auctions".
"We had one last weekend with a large group of people, we sold three in Waihī Beach and they achieved exceptional prices. When you are working with a really small supply of stock, prices are certainly not going to go back."
The company also sold one property sight unseen.
Shepherd said as Aucklanders looked to move out of the city as remote working becomes more popular, "there could be an avalanche of people looking to move into other areas".
Paul Billinghurst, of Professionals NRG Realty, said Waihī and Waihī Beach were different but desirable places to live.
Although he acknowledges "prices are going through the roof".
"Waihī is still good value for money from a buyer's point of view. There is still pent-up demand for Waihī Beach and if you compare it to Mount Maunganui and Whangamata, it also represents good value for money."
Simon Anderson, managing director of the Realty Group Ltd, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said some areas in the region that were undervalued had now become desirable.
Waihī Beach was a case in point.
"We are seeing strong demand in that area. People are looking to work from home and want more of a lifestyle.
"We have seen a number of significant sales and one big sale can really change the median price number."
Mount Maunganui and Pāpāmoa had gone beyond some buyers' price ranges so they had started looking at alternative locations.
"They are looking for little spots along the coast."
Anderson said the mine in Waihī also played a major role and the quality of homes had lifted.
"I think once Auckland comes out of lockdown, you'll see a further resurgence in these areas."