Where to for nation’s best beach?
NZ Herald readers have voted Whangamata the top beach in the country.
So what does that mean for our town’s future?
Our real estate companies have slightly differing opinions on whether property prices will be affected.
Harcourts Whangamata owner Paul Prouse said Whangamata certainly deserved the award.
“We have an amazing beach, there are a number of things to see and do, along with great shops, restaurants, cafes, clubs and a friendly community,” Mr Prouse said.
“In my opinion property prices will keep increasing and this award just helps to fuel demand. There is already strong demand for the right properties.
“On the other side of the coin you can still buy a house close to shops and in walking distance to the beach for around $600,000. Coupled with strong demand for rental property it is a good time to be in the market.”
Steve Morrison, principal of Ray White Whangamata, said the the award was fantastic for Whangamata.
“It’s another endorsement for our wonderful place. While being the top beach in NZ is great kudos, the property market in Whangamata and NZ as a whole has seen some significant lift in the past two years and, more recently, there have been signs across NZ that there is a flattening of prices.
“I think any changes in the economy like interest rates and government policy (like banning foreign ownership) have the potential to influence the real estate market in Whangamata to a greater degree than winning the best beach. The Herald has just told everyone what we all know already!”
Murray Cleland, principal of Whangamata Real Estate, said the Herald article was great for promoting Whangamata and all that it had to offer to people who holiday here or just come for the weekend.
“In regards to property prices, it will have little effect as the current market has been solid for some time. With few opportunities for future residential development and the fact that Whangamata is somewhat land locked, this will play a part in holding the current property prices.
“The future development will come from the old 1950/60s baches being bought and replaced with new homes.”
First National Real Estate principal Gordon Turner said property prices would continue to rise regardless of the Best Beach tag.
“Whangamata has the ability to outprice itself as it’s already now quite expensive.
“The average sale price is now well into the $600,000s and rising. It’s difficult to find properties of any sort under $500,000 and new sections now start at $275,000,” Mr Turner said.
“My only concern is that values will reach a level where they are unaffordable and this will cause a slump in the market or what we call in real estate ‘a correction’ to pull prices back and start the ball rolling again.
“We have a good and stable market currently with 20 to 30 sales per month in the area, and the meteoric rise of prices pre2017 has come and gone. Long may the status quo continue.
“I don’t see that Best Beach will have any dramatic effect on property values in the short term, and most likely will be just a flash in the pan. However, initiatives like Paradise Coast I see as having legs and ultimately enhancing long term growth and connection on our part of the eastern seaboard.” Sarah Ellery began her new job as manager of the Whangamata Motor Camp last week, so she was pretty chuffed to hear that Whanga had been voted New Zealand’s Best Beach. So what makes it so special for young and old, families and international visitors?
“It’s clean. It’s got everything — great surf, a bridge for kids to jump off, it’s got the estuary, which is safe for the little ones, there’s boogie boarding for the older ones.
“It’s just the best place to have a holiday. It’s a great walking location and the streets are easy to bike around.”
Events such as the five-day Beach Hop, which celebrates the music, cars and fashion of the 50s and 60s, and Brits at the Beach, which attracts hundreds of UK expats, make sure that the holiday vibe continues throughout the summer.
Fun runs, the town’s mountain-bike park and tramping in the surrounding bush add to the leisure opportunities, she says.
“It’s the classic Kiwi holiday place that caters to all ages.”
Matt Williams, chief executive of Surf Life Saving NZ’S northern region and one of three beach experts who short-listed the 10 finalists from hundreds of nominations by Herald readers, wasn’t surprised at the winner and runnerup, Matapouri Bay in Northland.
When he and fellow-judges Karin Bryan of Waikato University and singersongwriter-surfer Jamie Mcdell mused over the essential qualities of not just a great, but the greatest beach, they agreed defining that was a pretty tall order.