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It was hardly beach weather as roaring open fire radiated warmth under leaden skies while a brisk sea breeze buffeted Waikuku.
The spa pool on the deck had the cover pulled back, a cunning enticement for the 15 bidders sat in the lounge at 23 Reserve Rd.
Two massive macrocarpa trees were also freshly felled in the backyard, and those hunks of firewood by the kiddies playhouse were listed among the chattels.
But this bach is essentially a summer getaway, so a couple of push bikes for the short jaunt to the shore were also included in the purchase price.
The auction started at 4pm at $360,000; Linda Warren-Davey tapped the gavel 19min later after a bidder lodged an offer of $406,000 via mobile in Wellington for a holiday home they have not yet set foot in.
For Waikuku Beach-based real estate agent Lisa Tippen, the straightforward sale summed up a buoyant sector of a booming property market – the quintessential Kiwi bach is back in vogue as Covid-19 grounds overseas travel.
Tippen’s sale last Wednesday was her third in three weeks as the beach settlement 30-odd kilometres north of Christchurch proves popular for holidaymakers, retirees and those seeking a lifestyle change from the hustle and bustle of city life.
“When I started selling baches out here 23 years ago places like this were $60,000, so the prices are creeping up quite a lot,” Tippen said, while sat on the porch at No 23.
“People are turning up to open homes looking for a holiday bach because they feel they’re not going on holiday (overseas) for at least the next five years.”
“That was a bought forward auction. I had four bidders, but the bought forward price, as soon as we announced it, nobody else bid. It sold for $550,000 which was a record. The feedback was in the mid to late fours but this lady really, really wanted it.”
Interest now outstripped demand, likely until the new year when owners reassess over the Christmas break.
Selling could certainly be an option in 2021 with the median property price in Waikuku jumping 20.40 per cent in the 12 months to September, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
A property worth $357,000 in September 2019 was now valued at $430,000 while a lack of available land also bumped up property values for even the most weather-beaten dwelling.
“The thing out here is the land is so expensive now,” Tippen said.
“The last section to sell out here was $220,000 and that was over a year ago. That same section now would probably get closer to late 2s.”
“You see pockets as you drive . . . old, old, brand new,” Tippen said.
As the unsuccessful bidders trailed away from No 23, Tippen revealed the new owner grew up in Christchurch and used to go to Waikuku on holiday.
The sellers bought the bach for $355,000 in February, 2018 as a holiday home, and opted to shift it to expand their business through a new commercial property in Christchurch.
Although Covid-19 has created havoc globally, enclaves like Waikuku illustrated how the pandemic had boosted the real estate industry.
“If this was sold pre-lockdown it probably would have sold for $370,000, the increases are pretty amazing,” Tippen said.
“When we came out of lockdown everyone said the market was going to be in trouble but I don’t think Canterbury ever really had its major surge like Queenstown and Auckland did. I think we’re having our surge upwards now.”
As summer approaches, baches are helping light up a booming property market as Kiwis seek bases closer to home rather than splurge on overseas travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Median property prices in leading holiday spots in Canterbury and throughout the country have jumped over the last 12 months, according to figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
Ray White New Zealand South Island regional manager Jane Meyer said interest in baches was indicative of the broader market.
“Obviously people have looked at their money in the bank and thought ‘it’s not earning me anything’, mortgages are cheap, we’re not going overseas and where are we going to go on our holidays?
“That’s just building the whole momentum in the market. It’s been driven from the first home buyers right through, this is the market we’ve found ourselves in. Covid has kind of created a mini-boom,” she said.
It’s absolutely boom time down there in Wanaka and Arrowtown,” Meyer said.
“Te Anau … Golden Bay, people are just snapping up anything that comes on the market.
Meyer expected transactions to spike again in the new year after bach owners had enjoyed one last summer in their home away from home.
“Maybe the family didn’t come this year, or the kids are all gone. Maybe it’s too small because they’ve got eight grandchildren,” she said.
“We tend to see more come on (the market) post-Christmas once decisions are made.”
Leading median price changes for popular holiday home locations:
• Arrowtown: Median price Sept 2019 $1,005,000; median price Sept 2020 $1,250,000 +24.4 per cent.
• Akaroa: $520,000; $637,000 +22.50 per cent.
• Waikuku Beach $357,000; $430,000 +20.40 per cent.
• Hahei: $876,000; $1,035,000 +18.20 per cent.
• Russell: $685,000; $785,000 +14.60 per cent.
• Wanaka: $1,015,000; $1,150,000 +13.30 per cent.
• Whitianga: $622,000; $665,000 +6.90 per cent.
• Coromandel: $529,000; $565,000 +6.80 per cent.
• Selwyn district: $553,000; $561,000 +1.40 per cent.
• Kaiteriteri: $825,000; $820,000 -0.60 per cent.
• Paihia: $550,000; $511,000 -7.10 per cent.