It's the great Australian summer dream: owning a tiny shack on the coast close enough to the beach to taste the seaspray. But those areas are now among the worst hit by mortgage stress.
Small beachside towns in Victoria, NSW and Queensland have featured prominently on the latest mortgage delinquency list released by Fitch Ratings.
While suburbs in Sydney's west and Melbourne's north-west remain among the hardest hit by mortgage stress, so do the areas where people take their holidays.
In NSW the central coast was the named the state's worst-performing region for borrowing arrears for March, with 2.08 per cent of borrowers in arrears.
Central coast beach towns Avoca Beach and The Entrance were listed in the top 50 worst performing postcodes in the country, with the small fishing village of Budgewoi taking out top spot.
Torquay, a long-time Melbourne holiday favourite on the Great Ocean Road, was second on the list. Both places had mortgage delinquency rates nearly triple the Australian average.
Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge said Torquay's demographics had changed in recent years, with more people living in the area permanently rather than just during holidays.
"Our population is growing extremely quickly. We don't want to sprawl too much but with growth you get some good benefits," she said.
She said nearby housing developments were leading to a population boom, which was driving down prices for some vacant blocks closer to town.
"[But] people are still buying expensive homes. We've got young families, baby boomers and retirees wanting to move here. The age demographics are right across the board," she said.
LJ Hooker Avoca Beach agent Chris Andrews said the area was traditionally a favourite holiday spot for residents of Sydney's north shore.
He said the property market remained strong and he was having difficulty keeping up with demand for houses in the $500,000 to $600,000 range, but agents further up the coast had problems with oversupply.
Tourism towns in Queensland also made their way to the top of the list. Palm Cove, the beachside resort north of Cairns, was seventh.
Gold Coast tourism hotspot Surfers Paradise improved from being the worst postcode in the country in September but remained in the worst top 20.
Fitch Ratings director James Zanesi said home loan delinquency in tourism areas was generally improving. The latest report shows missed home loan payments increased across the country in the most recent period. Mr Zanesi warned that trend could become worse if the RBA changed interest rates.
"If interest rates increase then we can expect arrears to go up, particularly after the next Christmas spend," he said.