Late 2020 and early 2021 has certainly been one for the record books in the Northern Rivers with off the scale demand and short supply creating a fierce FOMO mindset and a market unlike anything seen in more than 30 years.
Right now, the market continues its strong performance, but the frenetic urgency that we have witnessed over the last nine months has mildly waned. FOMO has left the building.
When the market took off in September last year, we witnessed a sharp rise in property prices. Now that the excitement and urgency have come out of the equation, people are taking a more considered approach to purchasing property. With prices remaining steady, people are no longer buying homes the day that they come onto the market. Rather, they are taking their time, performing due diligence and making educated purchasing decisions
While those very special properties at the very top end of the market continue to set record prices, the rest of the market can be described as strong and steady. Perhaps an exception to this is Lennox Head, which remains a boom market. The premium prices being commanded by rural and semi-rural properties also shows no sign of slowing, as buyers seek both space and lifestyle following COVID challenges and city lockdowns.
Numbers at open houses remain excellent but are marginally less than in the crazy months following September 2020.
The Ballina and Lennox region is still experiencing an overflow of buyers who are being priced out of the Byron Bay and Suffolk property market – with many of these buyers quickly realizing that the lower price and slower pace of life in our region should have been their Plan A all along.
Despite the uncertainty that COVID has delivered, our favourite most intangible thing – confidence – remains ever present, and it is this element that is engineering a strength and depth to the local market. Confidence is no doubt being underpinned by the record low interest rates that we are experiencing, coupled with some very generous fixed rates by many of the major lenders.
One of the biggest challenges facing us as agents is managing seller expectations. Many sellers think that property prices will continue to rise but this may or may not happen. The last nine months was unprecedented and should not be seen as part of the normal real estate cycle. It was perhaps a once in a generation event that is now showing signs of tapering. What we can say is that this area will continue to be a growth area – as more and more people discover the beauty, charm and livability of our region – but prices cannot continue to progress like they have in the last nine months for ever onwards. At some point, the ascent must plateau.
We are seeing a mixed bag of retiree and younger stakeholders operating in the investor market, but higher property prices are generally putting new entrants off entering this market.
Career prospects for builders and tradies have never been better than they are on the north coast right now, with the building boom in Lennox and Ballina Heights alone ensuring years of consistent work for these professions.
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