Tourism suffers: Wategos Beach at Byron Bay, a popular holiday destination for domestic and overseas tourists, who are altering their travel plans due to the strength of the Australian dollar.
Tourism suffers: Wategos Beach at Byron Bay, a popular holiday destination for domestic and overseas tourists, who are altering their travel plans due to the strength of the Australian dollar.

Coast unit sales on the way back

REAL estate agents along the Northern Rivers coastline say that sales of apartments have held steady in the past year, despite analysts’ warnings that the strong dollar is harming rental figures.

Russell Siwicki, whose Siwicki Real Estate manages a lot of the holiday rental properties in Brunswick Heads, said that after a ‘pretty ordinary’ 2009, the market had improved significantly in 2010 – up until the election, when things died for a few weeks.

The number of buyers was increasing again now, he said.

As for the first eight months of the year – they were ‘terrific’.

“I don’t think the strong dollar has had any dramatic effect on sales at all in the last 12 months,” he said.

His comments come as a response to a report from RP Data showing that while capital city unit prices rose 11.4 per cent in the year to June, apartment prices in half of Australia’s 24 major coastal regions grew less then five per cent in the same period.

It attributed the slower growth to the strength of the Australian dollar, and the resulting slowdown in tourism.

The Australian dollar traded between 82 and 93 US cents for the year to June, making Australia more expensive for overseas tourists.

“Nationally, rental growth has been minimal since the onset of the global financial crisis and most of the coastal markets have reflected this,” RP Data research analyst Cameron Kusher said.

“With the strength of the Aussie dollar at the moment, holidaying in Australia has become much more expensive for our overseas visitors.” One Byron Bay real estate agent said he had seen a drop-off in sales at the top end of the market, but that any impact on the budget to middle zone had been minimal. He said accommodation providers around the globe were having to offer deals to get people in.

“The world has changed. The middle class travelling public of Australia have reduced their holidays and are looking for a bargain,” the agent said.



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