Hype fails to erode beach sales
THE highly-publicised erosion battle at Belongil has done little to dampen demand for beachfront property in Byron Bay.
At the Belongil Beach erosion hot spot, 10 of 15 villas in the new Kiah Beach Houses development have sold in the past 12 months, with two beach houses recently settling for about $1.6 million each.
Demand and prices also remain high in beachside areas like Suffolk Park.
Kiah developers say the homes are protected by a vegetation buffer, but according to Byron Bay buyer's agent Michael Murray, those with enough money to buy are prepared to chance it anyway.
“Most people think beach erosion effects won't be dramatic in their lifetime,” he said. “Our love of beachfront properties overrides any concerns about climate change - there's such a strong motivation to live by the sea.”
Mr Murray's views are backed by Graham Dunn, of Byron Bay Property Sales, who said people were only interested in the 'now'.
“What happens in 50 or 100 years is of little consequence to them,” he said.
Wealth also plays a big part. Mr Dunn said a recent buyer at Belongil had told him that having his house washed away 'would not affect him in any way'.
Mr Dunn said the negative press and uncertainty surrounding the rights of property owners to protect their homes had slowed Belongil sales temporarily, but he expected things to take off again once the State Government's newly-announced protection rights for landowners were formalised.
A Federal parliamentary inquiry this week called for the introduction of new measures to tackle sea level rise, including stopping developments in danger zones.