Agents hit back at ‘no-go zone'

BYRON Bay real estate agents have hit back at a report labelling the town a “no-go zone” for investors.

Controversial property researcher Terry Ryder last week repeated his 2010 assertion that Byron Bay and seachange locations such as the Gold and Sunshine Coasts were “anti-hotspots” to buy real estate.

The founder of the Hotspotting website said his Top 10 “worst” list was based on long-term property values and returns.

He said seachange icons such as Byron Bay had made the list because of erosion, expense and court battles.

Principal of Byron Bay’s Ray White Real Estate, David Gordon, said he disagreed with the report, saying that Byron Bay was still an attractive place for long-term investment.

But he said that times had changed and the town was no longer a good place to make a “quick buck”.

“Years ago you could buy a property and before you even settled, the property had already gone up in value,” he said.

“But not any more. You now need to hold on to that property to make money.

“While the yield on residential properties has dropped, Byron Bay still remains one of the most affordable and beautiful seaside locations on the east coast.”

Mr Gordon said it was certainly a buyers’ market, and property prices in Byron Bay in 2011 were the same as they were four or five years ago.

He said his agency’s last 10 sales had seen a mixture of investors and owner-occupiers, with investors tapping into the $500,000-$600,000 price range, while sales to home owners were in the higher bracket of $900,000 to above $1 million.

Byron Bay First National Real Estate principal Chris Hanley said Byron Bay was still and always would be a great place for long-term property investment.

“This place has been a very, very strong place to invest your money and the lack of development has controlled the supply side, and when the general market starts to move again – and it will – Byron Bay will be one of the best places for capital gain,” he said.

“It’s all about supply and demand and in Byron Bay there is certainly not an oversupply of apartment complexes, nor land subdivisions nor unsold townhouses.

“I talk to people from all over Australia and they all say that they would love to live in Byron Bay.

“Every marketplace in Australia has been affected by the GFC, but property here is still worth more than it was seven or eight years ago.”

Mr Hanley said Byron Bay had a strong community, with music and writers festivals and wonderful characters and along with its physical beauty, the town would always remain popular.

Mr Hanley said comparisons with the Gold Coast were “like chalk and cheese”.

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