Interest in top-end homes may signal housing market revival

INTEREST: This top-end-of-the-market house is for sale in Lighthouse Rd, Wategos.
INTEREST: This top-end-of-the-market house is for sale in Lighthouse Rd, Wategos. Supplied

SALES at the top end of the property market in Byron Bay may be beginning to turn around.

And Tuesday's rate cut will help investor confidence, says Byron Bay Property Sales principal, Graham Dunne.

"We're beginning to see a slow change with increased inquiries at the top end of the market," he said. "We have three sales of properties over $2 million settling at the moment and that is very different from a couple of years ago when we were selling very few top-end properties.

"Confidence is the biggest issue facing that end of the market. At that end, buyers are generally paying cash, so an interest rate cut won't affect their decision, but they have been holding onto the cash instead of investing it in property."

RP Data-Rismark International July housing market results released recently paint a similar picture to what Mr Dunne described, with the more expensive upper quartile underperforming against other segments of the market.

Rismark CEO Ben Skilbeck predicted housing appreciation would be spurred by the interest rate cuts, but the top end of the market was still lagging.

According to Mr Skilbeck, for the 12 months ended July 2013, the middle of the market achieved 1.4 times the growth of the upper quartile.

"While the mid-market has largely recovered its peak-to-trough declines, the upper market still needs to add about 4% before it can claim the same," he said

One of the properties Mr Dunne has on the market is the $4.5-million 158 Lighthouse Rd, a prestige home with what he describes as having the "biggest views in Australia."

A few doors along, McGrath Byron Bay has 144 Lighthouse Rd listed from $4.5 million - also boasting exceptional views over Byron Bay.

"There's only 25 homes in that road," Mr Dunne said.

"If anything we're running out of stock in that price range. Those that needed to get out have already sold."

Topics:  byron bay property real estate

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