House sales in region hottest they've been for five years
HOUSE sales on the Northern Rivers are the hottest they've been in three to five years, say local agents.
It seems low interest rates and increased consumer confidence are combining to create our own mini-boom.
"It's a hot little market, the best we've had in five years," said Steve Leslie, principal at Elders Real Estate at Ballina.
"A good case in point is a property we just auctioned at 61 Norton St.
"We had 119 inspections, 89 people attended the auction and nine people registered to bid.
"It sold for $617,000, $47,000 above the reserve."
Mr Leslie said a second property, at 21 Norton St, due to go to auction today, had 82 inspections with multiple contracts issued.
"Anything up to the $750,000 mark is popular," he said. "The only properties that aren't selling are those where the price is incorrect."
He believed the local council's beautification of the main street, as well as the bypass, had been a factor in Ballina's boom.
"Byron has also lost a bit of flavour as far as attractiveness and price points."
Mr Leslie said buyers from south-east Queensland, Sydney and Newcastle were chasing properties.
As for rentals - "there's a massive undersupply. We lease a property in a matter of hours".
Alli Page, of GNF Real Estate, Bangalow, said the market was "very strong" with very little for sale and those listed going fast.
"Properties are not sitting on the market," Ms Page said.
At the same time, residential land releases, with blocks priced around $320,000, were being snapped up.
"The Meadows first stage is fully sold and there are only a few left in stage two. Green Frogs Lane is also all sold," she said.
Like Ballina, buyers from south-east Queensland and Sydney, as well as Brisbane and the Gold Coast, were investing in the market.
"We've also had huge interest, including from China and Korea, in macadamia farms because of strong nut prices," she said.
There was no availability for rentals with people willing to pay $850 to $900 a week for a quality home.
At Casino Real Estate principal Mark Simpkins said a shift in the market was starting to happen slowly, with more interest in sales than previous years and the rental market very strong.
Sales consultant Ben Conti, of Wal Murray in Lismore, said: "The last couple of months have been our busiest in terms of turnover for three years."
Byron Shire's population has grown from 30,712 in 2011 to 32,119 in 2014. New housing will be located in subdivisions in Bangalow, West Byron and Mullumbimby.
Ballina Shire has more than 500ha of undeveloped residential zoned land (equivalent to approximately 5300 dwellings), which represents about 20 years-worth of supply at current rates of residential demand.
Lismore currently has zoned urban residential land that can cater for about 1500 new dwellings. New land releases in the 20-year Growth Management Strategy include North Lismore Plateau, Pineapple Road, Trinity Drive and Waterford Park. Land for new urban, village and rural residential housing is proposed at Goonellabah and the northern ridges, East Lismore, Bexhill, Caniaba, Clunes, Dunoon, Nimbin, Wyrallah, The Channon, McLeans Ridges, Modanville, Monaltrie and Richmond Hill. There is also a precinct for medium density housing close to Lismore Base Hospital, Lismore Shopping Square and the CBD.
Richmond Valley will need 9900 new homes by 2031.