Feature article

It’s bach buying time in Aotearoa New Zealand

Russell, Coromandel, Hawke’s Bay, Golden Bay, which is your spot?

Last updated: 27 February 2024

A couple of times a year, a surge of Kiwi start searching for a bach or beach house to buy. It’s usually after they come back from their summer holidays or when they’re starting to think about their beach vacation later in the year,around August or September.

So it’s no surprise to find that ‘baches for sale’ is one of the most popular search terms on Trade Me Property right now.

Maybe most people have gotten the post-Covid travel bug out of their system and they want to own a spot of paradise closer to home. And if they get the location right, it’s somewhere they can go to regularly during the year and work from, at times.

Baches that have extra, separate areas of accommodation that people can “Airbnb” while they’re staying at the property themselves, are attracting particular interest, according to agents specialising in holiday home real estate.

And in the current property market where sellers are realistic about price, it’s a great time to buy something the family will enjoy for generations. Agents are saying that around $1 million or below is the sweet spot price for a lot of buyers considering buying a bach. And they might go a bit higher if there’s an extra cottage or sleepout that they can rent out.

Favourite locations to buy a bach for Aucklanders

Bay of Islands Bayleys agent, Irene Bremner says she’s starting to get calls from buyers in her popular coastal market. “Everyone’s had such a lovely summer and now they’re back to the grind,” she sympathises. She’s hearing from buyers from all over, including some offshore which is normal for the Bay of Islands.

In hot spots like Russell, properties are tightly held, so there are always buyers quick to respond to new opportunities that spring up in the relatively small market. A low maintenance, waterfront bach or forever home at 15 Kakapu Road in Russell is unsurprisingly attracting some good interest in the lead up to its auction in March from Aucklanders and beyond.

15 Kakapu Road, Russell

For those wanting something closer to Auckland, Loren Lopez from Mangawhai Real Estate sells a range of beach homes in Mangawhai which are typically priced from $900,000 to $3 million.

With highway improvements, the commute to Auckland is now 80 minutes and it’s a very easy, pleasant drive, says the agent.

“A lot of people think, I want to come up and to be able to Airbnb part of the property and stay at the beach house,” says Loren. Three quarters of the people he sees want to do that, he estimates.

Alternatively, one buyer recently told him he wanted to rent out the bach on the weekends and then he’d spend time in it during the week.

Loren is marketing a property at 2308 Cove Road in Mangawhai with multiple options for buyers. It has two, one bedroom residential dwellings, two pine weatherboard cabins and a further self-contained cabin on the 4000 sq m property, with plenty of off-street parking. It’s likely to sell in a price range of around $1.2 million.

2308 Cove Road, Mangawhai

Another favourite spot for Aucklanders, and those from the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, is the beautiful Coromandel. Many who come to the peninsula, like to spend time in the east coast town of Tairua. Now State Highway 25A has opened up, buyers looking for baches have returned in greater numbers, says Richardsons’ Tairua agent, Andrew Gibson.

One cute one bedroom Kiwi bach at 103 Ocean Beach Road, Tairua, with an asking price of $995,000, has seen extensive interest from families, he says. The nicely-presented bach ticks a lot of boxes, with its location close to the beach and extra space on the section.

103 Ocean Beach Road, Tairua

“People are wanting properties which have room to put tents or boats, and off street parking,” says Andrew.

The Richardsons agent is also marketing another property at 298 Main Road in Tairua which has options for families to spread out or for guest accommodation with a serviced double garage next to the home.

Andrew says he’s working with buyers who have been sharing baches with family and friends, now wanting to have something of their own. Most of the buyer interest so far has been in the sub $1 million range, adds the agent. “It’s more affordable for people if they have to borrow to buy,” he explains.

289 Main Road, Tairua

Favourite locations to buy a bach for Wellingtonians

Further down the North Island, the Hawke’s Bay beach, Waimārama is a favourite with beach lovers from Wellington and other parts of the Hawke’s Bay and lower North Island.

NZ Sotheby’s International Realty agent, Fiona Horne is expecting more properties to come on in the seaside village in the coming weeks.

“We always see at the end of the summer, families plan to have their last hurrah at the beach then they put the bach on the market,” says Fiona.

The agent is currently marketing a couple of properties on popular Harper Road, with a larger home at 2/75 Harper Road up for tender sale in March.

2/75 Harper Road, Waimārama

“We don’t see massive numbers of buyers coming through but those who do are genuine,” says Fiona.

She’s helping families who are investing in a bach with multiple generations in mind. An older Dad with kids growing up, looking for somewhere the family can come in the future, for instance. And a couple of families are looking with their widowed mother at the moment, says Fiona. The Sotheby’s agent is also working with buyers who are overseas at the moment and are sending Mum and Dad to look for them on their behalf, somewhere they can come back to.

Waimārama is popular because it’s one of those places where you could live permanently as well as have a holiday home and it’s only half an hour from Havelock North, says the agent.

South Island beach spots for mainlanders

And for those who would like their bach to be a possible permanent home, a Golden Bay home being marketed by local Ray White agent, Billy Kerrisk is an outstanding candidate.

The pristine four bedroom, three bathroom home at 1062 Collingwood-Pūponga Main Road in Golden Bay at the beachside settlement of Pākawau, 10 km north of Collingwood, was built in 2017, and it’s a step up from your normal bach, priced at $1.1 million. It’s somewhere you could live permanently or work from for periods. And with a very nice guest suite, the new owners could rent this part of it out to help pay for the mortgage, says Billy.

1062 Collingwood-Pūponga Main Road, Golden Bay

“People are wanting to rent their beach places out but still have somewhere to put their own things,” she explains.

The Ray White agent has another property coming on in the area which has a separate apartment where the current owners stay while their holiday guests do the changeover and she’s expecting this to appeal to a lot of buyers.

A lot of buyers are still looking for the archetypal Kiwi bach, says Billy. She’ll show them something of a high standard and they’ll say it’s too perfect.

“They’re happier with sinky ceilings and old sofas, they want it to be casual,” she laughs.

And of course we can’t leave the South Island without visiting another favourite beach location for Cantabrians and Wellingtonians, and that’s Kaiteriteri.

An elevated home with sea views just 15 minutes walk to the beach, at 158 Kaiteriteri-Sandy Bay Road, is up for sale through Matt Goodman from Harcourts Richmond. As well as the main house, there’s a separate cottage behind which offers owners a good opportunity to bring in extra income throughout the year.

158 Kaiteriteri-Sandy Bay Road, Kaiteriteri

The house has been the main home of the owners, says Matt. He sees a lot of bach owners live in their home for two to three months a year and then they go travelling and rent out the property and still have the mortgage paid.

“Buyers wanting to own and rent should go for a low maintenance property and that’s what this one is,” says Matt. who estimates the home and extra accommodation will sell in the mid $1 million range.

A four bedroom, three bathroom property like this one, could be filled with holidaymakers almost all year round, says the Harcourts agent. People are keen to stay in baches from December to March but then into Easter and April. They’ll also book for long weekends and in school holidays throughout the year, says Matt.


Gill South
Gill South