The weather may be starting to cool down but here in the world of real estate on the far north coast, things remain scorching, in what is a highly competitive, fast moving market. The December-February period saw an influx of activity, driven primarily by exceptional demand as the regional renaissance from city to country continues.

Prices across the region are moving up. Domain announced in January this year that Byron Bay experienced the highest house price growth of any suburb in the country in 2020. REA Group reported in 2020 that Byron Bay’s median house price surged by 36 per cent to $1.87M, buoyed by accelerating celebrity appeal. Meanwhile, nearby Bangalow was named as Australia’s best-performing regional centre over the past two decades in a report released by the REA Group during February. There’s no question that this growth has prompted a spill over effect into neighbouring regions like our own, and this has been felt from the mid north coast up to the Queensland border.

You will have seen some of the recent headlines. ‘Booming Byron pushes locals out of market’, ‘City slickers leave Sydney and Canberra in droves for regional NSW’, and ‘Byron Bay property prices continue to surge’ are just some of the many on offer exploring all aspects of the region’s growing popularity.

And while a booming property market is generally good news, not everyone benefits. Renters are experiencing escalating rental prices and there is an underbelly of rental shortages and homelessness across the region resulting in people seeking short term accommodation in motels, and sometimes their cars. We are encountering people from Byron who are selling because they are over the whole ‘vibe’ which they believe is being superseded by the entry of ostentatious wealth. These people are choosing to instead purchase in Ballina and Lennox, which presents a more affordable and less pretentious living environment. Well, we like to think so anyway!

When will things slow down? It’s a good question that can’t be answered with precision. February was extraordinary (and that’s not a word we use every day).  Markets are built and dismantled on the presence or absence of trust and confidence, and these are intangible, non-material phenomena that can be as elusive as the wind. Nothing underpins confidence, but when it is present, its effect is undeniable and infectious. However, when you consider the regionalisation effect brought about by the pandemic, the viability of work from home, the current FOMO thinking, super low interest rates and the undeniable beauty of our region, we do feel that things have a way to go before any slowdown takes place.

How do you time your run to get the best out of the market? For people considering selling their property, be aware that right now buyers are willing to pay tomorrow’s prices today to get into the market. If you are considering selling, don’t put it off. We are experiencing one of the strongest markets we have seen in years, however strong markets don’t last forever, and
it’s prudent to take advantage of them when they appear. 

Who are the best buyers? The best buyers are cash ready from day one. These people jump the queue and secure properties despite the competition by making firm offers early, having their finances in order, and with a crack team of conveyancers ready to roll. Read more in my Autumn newsletter . . .