A drop in median house prices at places such as Lennox Head has lured investors back into the market.
A drop in median house prices at places such as Lennox Head has lured investors back into the market. David Nielsen

Coastal properties snapped up

INVESTORS are piling into the Ballina/Lennox housing market, lured by a recent softening in prices.

The investment dollar has driven a 39 per cent spike in sales in both coastal towns, as well as Cumbalum and Skennars Head.

Median house prices for Ballina and Lennox Head have dropped $34,500,according to a recent report from PRDnationwide.

Its study of the last six months of 2009 showed a 6.6 per cent slide in median prices, to $493,500.

Sales, as a consequence, have leapt.

PRD research analyst Josh Brown said investors taking advantage of the dip have caused a flurry of activity, taking total sales for the period to 128.

Lennox Head registered the most settled transactions over the half-year with 41 sales, followed closely by Ballina with 40.

Lennox Head is also identified as the suburb that has outperformed all others for investment, with an average annual capital growth figure of 8.9 per cent a year.

Activity in the unit market in Ballina and Lennox Head also increased significantly in the latter half of 2009.

Investors will be among the punters turning out for PRD Ballina’s auctions today, when 19 properties will go up for sale.

Principal Keith Jones said investors had largely been absent from the market for the past two years, as a result of the global credit crunch.

However, rentals hadn’t suffered during the crisis, Mr Jones said.

“There is now a shortage of good rental stock and as investors return to the market prices will start to firm,” he said.

“So now is a good time to be getting back in.”

Among the tempting properties for investors being auctioned today is a unit in Swift Street, Ballina, which could sell in the low $200,000s, he said.

Two units in Grand View Towers would also show good returns, he said.

Meanwhile, the Housing Industry Association said that building approvals grew by 2.2 per cent in December.

The December quarter was a remarkable 34.9 per cent stronger than a year earlier, in a sign that a home building recovery was well under way, according to HIA senior economist, Ben Phillips.

“The recovery in building approvals now appears broad-based with all states and territories recording solid gains over the last quarter of 2009,” Mr Phillips said.

He also pointed to the recent growth in NSW and Queensland.



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