Major infrastructure projects such as the new bridge at Harwood and Clarence Correction Centre near Grafton are providing jobs and driving market growth.
Major infrastructure projects such as the new bridge at Harwood and Clarence Correction Centre near Grafton are providing jobs and driving market growth. Adam Hourigan

Big shift in both coastal and inland markets coming

THE Clarence Valley has had the biggest influx of infrastructure investment in its history in the past five years, and it has helped push the local real estate market forward in both price and demand.

LJ Hooker Yamba principal Jordan Duckett said the market had low stock with high demand, with prices showing double digit growth over the past five years.

"There's been a lot of activity over the past years with the highway upgrade and all the buzz that is created with the bridges and prison all being built, and it's brought a real influx into the market,” he said.

Mr Duckett said that the Yamba market had a high majority of baby-boomers owning property who had held onto it for long-term.

"Real estate has always been strong, but there's not a lot of fancy new builds,” he said. "The value in many properties has significantly gone up, but the people who have the property have held onto it - their wealth is in the equity.”

Mr Duckett said that he believed over the next 10 to 15 years, as these properties begin to hit the market, that a resurgence in the stock would come, from people taking the opportunity to either renovate or redo these long-held properties.

"For many people coming into towns, these prices are still quite affordable, and you'll see renovations on a lot of streets or even brand new architectural properties,” he said.

"I think the whole Yamba market will change off the back of this growth.”

In Grafton, with the median house price breaking through the $300,000 mark for the first time, it is great news for investors and those looking to put their house on the market.

McKimms principal Angus McKimm said the steady growth of the area provided a stable investment for many, with good rental yields and continued growth due to the expected demand from the jail development.

"The investment that the jail will bring will last a century. A lot of people talk about a downturn after the capital works, but I don't share it at all,” Mr McKimms said. "Once the contractors move out we've got that century of middle to upper class jobs.”

Mr McKimm said that while the average median income of Grafton was slightly lower than other major centres, the relatively low cost of good family homes or investments in the area was at a much lower multiple of income.

"It is going to become harder to borrow money for property over the next few years, and that will affect places like Grafton much less than somewhere like Coffs Harbour or Port Macquarie where that multiple of the income is off the charts compared to here.”



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