Rebecca and Rodney Hall outside their new home with John McIntyre.
Rebecca and Rodney Hall outside their new home with John McIntyre. The Northern Star

Brisbane market forces home buyers south

BUYING a home in Lismore became an attractive option for Rebecca and Rodney Hall when they realised they could no longer afford a piece of the skyrocketing property market in Brisbane.

The first-home buyers decided they didn't want two full-time wages tied up in paying off a mortgage, so moved back to the North Coast where Rebecca grew up.

The couple said they were hoping to buy something in Lismore in the $240,000 to $250,000 price range. After a three-month search they changed their criteria to 'something under $265,000 that didn't need a lot of renovations', and found their Hunter Street home.

Brisbane house prices rose an average of 2.8 per cent in the year to March, above the national average of 1.1 per cent. However, prices in Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Darwin all fell in the March quarter as interest rate rises started to take their toll on the metropolitan markets.

But according to Paul Deegan, secretary of the Northern Rivers Real Estate Institute, prices in the Northern Rivers were likely to remain fairly steady.

"The coastal areas have quietened off a bit, but we haven't seen a drop in prices," he said.

"Australians definitely have a love affair with living on the coast, especially the baby boomers who are retiring.

"People make a lifestyle choice and there is no financial basis to their decision. They want to live there and they've got the money, so they buy it."

Mr Deegan said that, unlike major metropolitan centres, there was still vacant land on the North Coast, particularly inland.

"The thing that keeps a lid on things here, particularly around Lismore, is if prices get too high people say 'I can build one for that'. In the cities there is no such thing."

He described the North Coast market as 'less volatile', boasting gradual price rises.

The Reserve Bank voted yesterday not to increase interest rates.


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