GOOD SIGN: Real estate agents have looked on the sale by auction of an historic home in Cathcart St, Lismore as a sign the property market is breaking out of the doldrums.
GOOD SIGN: Real estate agents have looked on the sale by auction of an historic home in Cathcart St, Lismore as a sign the property market is breaking out of the doldrums. Contributed

Market wakes from downturn

A CROWD of 40 turned out to the auction of an historic home in Cathcart St, Lismore, last weekend, suggesting after a long winter of property gloom, prospective buyers are crawl- ing out of their caves.

Owners haven't had much to smile about over the past six years, with prices falling an average of 10-15% since the GFC.

But that may be about to change.

Ray White Lismore principal Chris Harley said his office had exceeded its targets for the past four months, traditionally the slowest time of year.

"All our last six auctions have all sold, either under the hammer or straight after," Mr Harley said.

He anticipated the higher turnover rates would create more urgency, in turn seeding an upswing in prices.

"It's a sure signal the market has bottomed and is rebounding. For the first time in a very long time I'm optimistic.

"The $64 million question is: what's the sustainability, and where do we go from here?"

On the coast, John Nicolson from McGrath at Ballina said he had noticed a significant "mood change" in buyers over the past two to three months.

"People are now looking to buy, instead of finding excuses not to," he said.

"The more affordable homes are definitely selling well, but we've also had some movement in the upper end of the market, with some sales of $1 million-plus.

"We've been doing some analysis lately and we've worked out that, from this office, we've been selling a house every two-and-a-half days.

"I think this is something that will continue into the future."

And in a sign of things to come, at the very top end of town, hatted Melbourne restaurateur Shannon Bennett has forked out $2 million for 4588sq m of vacant land at Belongil Beach.

The owner of Melbourne's Vue de Monde bought the property from long-time Byron property investor, local identity and entertainment industry entrepreneur John Cornell and his wife Delvene Delaney.



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