A single block of waterfront land has just gone under the hammer for a whopping $1.55 million to a Sydney buyer.
The high demand for residential land in Port Macquarie on the NSW Mid-North Coast has been reflected in this eye-watering price as city dwellers leave the bright lights behind for a more relaxed regional lifestyle.
And the Port Macquarie-Hastings region is on the top of the list of locations.
The 696 square metre block on Portside Crescent sold for more than $350,000 over the estimated price of the plot size.
Paul Loughland from Nationwide Property Brokers said affordability and lifestyle factors are making coastal towns like Port Macquarie more attractive to sea changers and investors. However, the competitive market is hindering local first home buyers wanting to invest.
"As Sydney has become prohibitively expensive, Port Macquarie's population boom, job growth, and expanding infrastructure is making it a hotspot on the radar for savvy buyers and investors," he said.
CEO of Elders Lifestyle Group David Gray said there are a number of factors impacting the market.
"The market is very sensitive across Australia at the moment. The low supply and high demand has increased prices," he said.
"We have found that there are a lot of families moving back to Port Macquarie and we're seeing more people in their 30s and 40s returning and purchasing homes."
Around 50 per cent of Elders Real Estate Port Macquarie enquiries are from outside the area.
"The market at the moment does allow locals to upgrade their property and we have seen some really positive stories come out of this," Mr Gray said.
Even if there hadn't been an exodus to the regions, Mr Gray said Port Macquarie would still have seen a price surge.
"With the lower amount of land available, we still would have experienced a price rise in properties," he said.
"A lot of the time people think it's the real estate agents that are driving the price up, but it does come down to supply and demand.
"We also want to see our family and friends able to afford a house or block of land.
"I do feel for the first home buyers who are entering the market."
Mr Gray said compared to other coastal areas along the east coast of Australia, house prices in Port Macquarie are more affordable.
"The average price for a home in the Port Macquarie area is in the early $600,000s compared to Evans Head which is around $800,000 and Forster at $700,000," he said.
"The block of land that was sold for $1.55 million is on the waterfront and that has to be put into perspective."
Mr Gray believes the market will improve over the next six months when more residential land is released and unit blocks are completed.
"There's a third subdivision at Lake Cathie that will be opening up and the developer is looking for owner occupied buyers, there are four unit blocks currently in development and more land will be released at Sovereign Hills," he said.
Sovereign Hills land sales manager Luke Moreta said a number of first home buyers have purchased land at a reasonable price and are now building their homes.
"We have always aimed to offer the best value land in Port Macquarie and nothing has changed with first home buyer targeted lots selling from $250,000 in our latest land release, The Heritage Stage Six," he said.
"We are proud to say more than 90 per cent of our latest land release was sold to 'live in homeowners' from our local and surrounding areas. Our buyer demographic has certainly changed over the years and we are finding we are appealing to people at all stages of life."
Almost 300 buyers have been able to secure a block of land in The Heritage precinct over the past 20 months.
"While it has become more difficult to secure land due to the overwhelming demand for new home sites on the NSW Mid North Coast, we are creating an ongoing supply and we encourage buyers to stay in touch with us to ensure they're in the best position for future land releases," Mr Moreta said.
Recent land sales at Sovereign Hills have been snapped up in a matter of days, which Mr Moreta said is a promising sign.
"It demonstrates people want to live in Sovereign Hills, they love the growing community, new home feel and our location which is very convenient. It also says we offer great value for money," he said.