Byron Shire is the Far North Coast’s top property performer
BYRON Bay has lived up to its boom or bust reputation, with property prices riding high on a wave of cashed-up investors searching for their coastal getaway.
The Byron Shire was the Far North Coast's top performer in terms of price increases, with Ballina nipping at its heels.
Suburbs within the Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle local government areas were more subdued but still recorded healthy price hikes in key suburbs.
Byron Shire Real Estate partner Todd Buckland expected 2016 to show more growth for the region, despite its tendency to follow the Sydney market's trends.
"Prices have recovered to being at least as good, if not better than the last peak in 2007," he said.
"Even though Sydney is stalling, we expect to be running off Brisbane and the Gold Coast this year.
"The prospects are very good for Brisbane in particular.
"Brunswick Heads snaps into gear in our market quicker than any other area, and bounces higher than any other as well.
"Its values are much higher than where they were in 2007, because it has a very limited supply for such a popular market."
Brunswick Heads recorded a 7.9% price growth over the year to September, reaching a median house price of $744,500.
But the ever-in-demand Byron Bay itself was the top performer, with prices jumping a staggering 34% to reach a median of $1.05 million.
It represented a 72.2% upsurge over the past three years.
LJ Hooker Ballina agent Luke Shay said new developments had lifted buyer interest in the region.
"East Ballina is always popular, and we've had a fair bit of movement at Cumbalum with the Ballina Heights Estate development," he said.
"Then we've got a new residential complex going down the river and selling off the plan.
"Almost half of those have sold already, and there hasn't been anything like it built on the river for about 10 years."
Cumbalum house prices rose 16.6% to a median of $603,500 and Wollongbar, Ballina, East Ballina and West Ballina all recorded increases around the 10% mark.
Median house values in Goonellabah and Lismore grew 4.4% and 4.2% respectively.
Casino units were the best performers for the Richmond Valley region, jumping 14.7% to a median of $214,500.
Kyogle house prices lifted 11% to a median of $247,000.
Bumper crop for real estate agents as Far North Coast property appeals to many
SALES volumes on the Far North Coast have continued to climb, with agents reporting healthy increases in turnover in 2015.
Luke Shay from LJ Hooker Ballina expected the trend to continue alongside steadily strengthening prices this year.
The jump in house prices in Cumbalum coincided with a spike in sales numbers, up from 13 houses in 2014 to 23 last year.
"Prices increased last year but we still got plenty of buyer interest," Mr Shay said.
"Even if prices go up slightly, unless there's a huge influx of properties going on the market, I can't see things changing much in the near future."
Ballina underwent a rare sales volume dip from 115 houses sold in 2014 to 84 last year, but it was still the second highest turnover since 2009.
Vendors sold 69 houses in the suburb of Lismore last year, the highest number since 2008 and a jump from 62 in 2014.
Byron Shire Real Estate partner Todd Buckland said Ocean Shores was one of the region's biggest sellers.
CoreLogic RP Data records show 96 houses sold in the suburb last year, up from 94 in 2014 and 68 in 2013.
It was the biggest turnover since 2009.
In Bangalow, 45 houses changed hands, the highest number since 2007 and Byron Bay had its highest volume of sales since 2012 with 86 houses sold.
"We've had a cracking year, turnover-wise," Mr Buckland said.
"If it is anywhere near last year's, we are in for another cracker.
"If prices don't move much I think we will still have that turnover, but there may be some capital growth, going by how well Brisbane is expected to do.
"We have a lot of confidence there should be growth this year."