THE tide is turning for the coastal property market, with bargain prices and strong rental returns encouraging buyers to again consider a weekender.
Agents in many seaside villages say they have seen signs of improvement in the past six months.
Figures from Australian Property Monitors also indicate price growth in some areas compared with the same time last year.
Surry Hills couple Scott and Cathy Lawrence pounced on the Blue House at Callala Beach in April at the right moment.
They negotiated with the vendors in an off-market deal, paying less than $400,000 for the two-bedroom fibro, a few streets back from the beach.
“We are extremely pleased that we bought it and we’re enjoying every minute of it,” Mrs Lawrence said.
The Lawrences will use the Blue House as a getaway during quiet times but after a recent lick of paint, it is fully booked as a dog-friendly rental for the holiday period at $1975 a week.
Raine and Horne Callala Bay’s agent Craig Hadfield said the market lifted in the second half of the year.
Data from Australian Property Monitors shows there were 54 sales in Callala Beach this year compared with 41 last year.
There were also more above the $1 million mark.
“That top-end turning has increased the median price,” Mr Hadfield said.
Across the bay at Hyams Beach there was also a jump in sales.
There were 12 sales this year compared with five a year ago. But several were family transfers.
There was just one million-dollar sale and discounts of more than $50,000 were common.
“Properties are turning over but it’s just that the prices aren’t where they used to be,” Todd Gallant of Hyams Beach Real Estate said.
“Holiday bookings are as strong or a bit better but the demographic is changing … some who used to come are doing the overseas ski holiday instead,” he said.
A senior economist, Andrew Wilson at APM, said holiday home sales were closely aligned to the prestige market, which had been very subdued in recent years.
But he said there were now signs of price growth from a low base.