The coastal property market is making a comeback after years of stagnant or declining prices.

Homes that have been on the market as long as three years have finally sold and some hotspots like Whangamata have seen a significant rise in monthly sales. There are noticeably fewer mortgagee sales now than there have been in the past two years and the trend in recent months have been strengthening sales, according to the Property Report, in today's Herald.

Sales figures for Rodney North, which includes Leigh, Mahurangi, Omaha, Snells Beach, in September show increased sales of not only residential property but rural and lifestyle ones also.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said: "We get feedback from our agents around the country regularly and those who are in those regions are reporting, really over the past six months actually, some positive signs."


It wasn't the kind of activity that is being seen in Auckland and Christchurch, but it was encouraging, she said.

"Not so much prices going up but more people interested in transacting ... And a sense of reality on the part of vendors who are realistic about the market. It is improving from quite a dire position."

Coastal property in particular had been "quite hyped" at the peak of the boom.

She said the recession and the global financial crisis had prompted more realism about coastal property.

"I think people are now buying it when they are in a situation to afford another property as opposed to a speculative short-term buy which I think was driving some of that activity in 2007. So it had quite a long way to come down, because it had moved so far up in the peaks."

Andrew McGee of Whangamata Real Estate said some monthly sales over the past winter matched the usually stronger summer season. Since 2008 there had been between eight to 15 property sales a month in the town - but during the past six months there have been at least 20 sales a month.

He believed buyers were coming from Auckland who were able to buy beach houses because equity in their homes had increased, and there were also more retired or semi-retired people wanting beach property.

A Snells Beach property sold in August after being on the market for three years while another in Warkworth finally sold after 32 months.