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North Coast property market to slow

The North Coast property market is in for a quiet year, a leading economist says.
The North Coast property market is in for a quiet year, a leading economist says.

IT IS expected be a quiet year for real estate businesses. A senior economist for Australian Property Monitors Dr Andrew Wilson has predicted a slower North Coast property market for the next 12 months.

“I think that along with most of NSW and most of Australia, there’s been a softening of activity towards the end of the year in just about all sectors,” Dr Wilson said.

Surprisingly, Dr Wilson said it wasn’t necessarily the recent wet weather and downturn in tourism to blame for the slowdown either.

“Really the general undercurrent has been that once all the government stimulus initiatives that were brought in after the Global Financial Crisis, the first home-owners boost and a lot of the other income supplements that came through, once they sort of washed their way through the system, we went back to a general quiet period of activity,” he said.

“I guess it’s a little bit like the hangover after a party in some ways.”

He said generally flooding and wet weather didn’t have a huge impact on the market because people in the northern rivers were “resilient” and attached to their communities and neighbourhoods.

Dr Wilson’s findings were based on a broad overview of the North Coast, taking into account property data such as sales and price statistics among other information.

He also found there was a lull in the amount of housing construction going on around the North Coast, which was having an impact on the current property market.

However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

Dr Wilson said with the current resources boom and strong employment across the state, there would be an eventual ripple effect in the Northern Rivers area and he suspected the North Coast to bounce back towards the end of the year.

A quick ring-around of Clarence Valley Real Estate Agents revealed mixed support for Dr Wilson’s findings.

“Of late I’d have to disagree, but prior to that I’d say it’s a fair comment,” said Daniel Kelly, sales manager for Ray White Yamba.

“I think the wet weather has had a bit to do with it; also around Christmas with people having commitments with their families, it’s generally a quieter time for us too.”

Mr Kelly said things had begun to pick up in the past few weeks, and hoped the reserve bank’s recent announcement not to increase interest rates would also add some optimism to the market.

However, Steve McKimm from McKimm’s Real Estate Grafton said he hadn’t noticed any real change.

“I wouldn’t think it altered a great deal one way or another; the thing about Grafton is that it’s pretty static and that’s a bad thing when everyone else is booming but when everyone else is crashing it becomes a good thing,” he said.

Mr McKimm said the Grafton market tended to be more insulated from the fluctuations of the wider market and it was harder to notice a real change in the current trends.


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