Sea-changers who were priced out of the market in recent years are now able to grab bargain beachside homes, thanks to falling demand and heavy discounting among vendors.

According to the latest report from RP Data, Port Pirie in South Australia topped the list as the cheapest area to buy a waterfront property with a median house price at just $140,000. Corindi Beach, north of Coffs Harbour, is the most affordable in NSW, at $272,000 median house price, while Halifax in northern Queensland offers the lowest median house price there at $200,000. All the most affordable properties in Victoria are found in Gippsland or East Gippsland with Loch Sport emerging as the 'lowest' suburb at $149,250 median house price.

Cameron Kusher, senior research analyst with RP Data, said some of the nation’s best-known waterfront properties are currently witnessing a sky-rocketing number of listings and heavy discounting to achieve sales. "Some reports are suggesting that in the worst cases, high-end vendors have been known to discount by as much as $1 million dollars to sell their waterfront properties," he said. "This increase in listing and price reduction is largely due to the inclement global financial markets which saw many highly geared individuals suffer not just margin calls but simultaneously, massive cuts in executive bonuses as a result."

Waterfront properties were traditionally viewed as safe havens for investors as properties in these locations always met with strong demand, thus creating limited supply. But Kusher noted that dramatic changes were taking place in this market, even since the middle of 2008.

In spite of this, Kusher said, cashed-up buyers looking to snare a bargain will find many opportunities offering idyllic waterfront properties and land right now, particularly in coastal areas.

See table (right) to find these bargain beachside properties.