Coastal values on the rise
RESIDENTIAL land values dropped 5.09% in Richmond Valley last financial year, while most of the Northern Rivers experienced significant rises.
NSW Government statistics reveal Byron's median land value rose from $303,000 to $328,000 and Ballina land values grew from $215,000 to $232,000, making the local government areas the second and third best coastal performers statewide. Tweed jumped from $211,000 to $225,000, while Lismore rose from $108,000 to $113,000 and Kyogle saw no change.
Although this follows several years of limited or no growth in median coastal residential land values across much of NSW, the Northern Rivers has experienced increases in recent years.
Across the state, there was a 13.12% rise in residential land values in the 12 months to July 1, 2014, compared with a 3.21% increase the previous financial year.
Despite Richmond Valley's drop in values, from $90,400 to $85,800, its council has applied for a 12.5% rate increase for 2014/16 and a 5.5% increase for the following years.
NSW Valuer General Simon Gilkes said drops in land values did not always mean more money in ratepayers' pockets.
"While important, valuations are only one of the factors councils use to determine each landholder's rating liability," he said.
"Increases or decreases in land values do not necessarily lead to similar increases or decreases in rates."
Andrew Hoolihan, director and property valuer at Taylor Byrne Lismore, was cautiously optimistic about the figures. "The coastal property market has been quite buoyant over the last 12 to 18 months and there's been some minor increases starting to come through," he said.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but I expect we'll see a similar rise (in coming years) as we've seen in the last 12 months. It's a nice, competitive market at the moment, with nothing crazy or unexpected."
He believes the rural market has been doing it tough, which is why Richmond Valley has seen a drop in values.
"The drop is primarily related to the rural market and the large number of forced sales," he said.
LAND VALUE VARIATIONS
From July 2013 to July 2014
Byron - Up 8.25% ($303,000 to 328,000)
Ballina - Up 7.91% ($215,000 to 232,000)
Tweed - Up 6.64% ($211,000 to 225,000)
Lismore - Up 4.63% ($108,000 to 113,000)
Kyogle - No change ($97,000)
Richmond Valley - Down 5.09% (90,400 to 85,800)