Investors' love of the coast to keep property growth steady
THE northern New South Wales coastline has proved a hit with property investors, with further steady price growth predicted for the coming year.
Real Estate Institute of NSW president John Cunningham said Byron Bay was the region's best performing local government area in 2015, but nominated Kyogle as a better yardstick for the region's market as a whole.
"Byron Bay has the strongest growth but the market also comes back there first as well," he said.
"Areas like Kyogle, which has been sitting quite consistently, are a good regional test for the North Coast.
"It has shown some good, stable growth without reaching too many extremes.
"Coffs Harbour is another really stable region, with areas like Boambee and Sawtell having solid growth without too much of a comeback.
"Their median prices are a litmus test for the whole region, sitting right in the middle price-wise."
Mr Cunningham said mid-priced houses were the year's best performers, with high-end properties proving more fickle.
The unit market was a different story.
"The main reason is there have been a lot more apartments being built on the coast than housing developments," Mr Cunningham said.
"Some areas are showing median prices increasing, but that may be due to the sale of more expensive or modern apartments.
"If you have an oversupply, they may not be realising their full potential in the short term."
Mr Cunningham said it was unlikely any short-term slumps in unit values would last long.
He predicted the North Coast region would benefit from delayed replication of Sydney's price bubble - albeit, at a reduced rate.
"The question now is whether values on the coast will move upward due to that lag behind Sydney," he said.
"We might see another 5% growth in the next 12 months just because of that time difference.
"The coastal areas, particularly the northern coastal regions, tend to do quite well over the summer period.
"We could see a bit of a shift on the figures.
"At the moment they probably aren't reflecting what we will eventually see on the North Coast."
It was not just Sydney's coat-tails pulling the region's property markets in the right direction.
Mr Cunningham said major investment in transport infrastructure was a driving force behind an influx of new retirees and holidaymakers buying homes.
"They have improved the highway of course, but also the airports at Coffs, Ballina and in Coolangatta," he said.
"Those enormously help the tourism elements of the growth, in that a lot of Sydney investors are buying holiday properties up there.
"Having another option other than driving is always going to be a strong factor in capital growth."