Ballina median prices approaching $600,000
A HOUSING boom in Ballina saw almost 300 new residential lots approved for construction last financial year.
It was an increase of 53% compared to 2014-15.
It's a positive sign for the shire, Ballina council's strategic planner, Simon Scott, said.
"We had a period after the Global Financial Crisis where there wasn't a lot of subdivision occurring," he said.
"But those figures seem to now suggest we're catching up and getting more developments happening.
"We'll see over the next few years how that translates to dwellings created."
The total number of house and unit building starts in 2015-16 remained steady at 257 new dwellings, with housing starts rising slightly and unit starts decreasing slightly.
Meanwhile house prices skyrocketed to $592,632, up by 9.9% since last financial year and up by almost 20% since 2013.
Mr Scott said one of the biggest challenges facing the shire in the near future is the accessibility of affordable housing.
"Something which is a challenge for future economic prosperity is we want people to have opportunities here," he said.
Local council's primary responsibility surrounding affordable housing is to ensure there is enough land supply to keep prices down.
Ballina council is preparing an economic development strategy for the shire which will look at the drivers of the local economy.
The strategy will also examine opportunities and challenges including those associated with the residential development and construction sector.
"We've just written to 6500 registered business owners in the Ballina Shire and we've invited them to participate," Mr Scott said.
"We've got an online survey to tell us what they think ... alternatively there will be a series of workshops happening later in the month.
"We want to tease out what the opportunities are for Ballina, what's holding us back (and) what things can be done."
The workshops will be held on Monday February 27, Wednesday March 1 and Friday March 3.
For more details or to complete the survey online, visit www.ballina.nsw.gov.au/economy.