Opportunities to buy hot property

ACCORDING to leading real estate agents on the Northern Rivers, this a great time for buyers and investors to find a good property for their home or portfolio.

“We've found in the last two months inquiries have picked up again and are the strongest since the end of last year,” said Keith Jones, of PRDnationwide, Ballina.

“Prices have steadied and sales are being made where people have realistic levels of expectation. There are no fire sales.

“Ballina is one of the top two or three hot spots in Australia and there is still very high demand here.”

John Nicolson, of Elders Ballina, said that May and June were both 'good months' after a couple of 'bad ones'. “We sold nine out of 15 auction properties, either under the hammer or just after in mid-June,” he said.

“The market is opportunistic at the moment, but we regard the Northern Rivers, and Ballina in particular, as a hot spot.

“With the Ballina bypass bringing in 300 families, plus subcontractors for work on a four-year project, and every likelihood of the Woodburn-Ballina and Tintenbar-Ewingsdale work to follow that, the growth may extend for many years beyond that.”

In Evans Head, Brad Dicinoski, of Evans Head First National, agreed that these infrastructure improvements 'plus the Tugun bypass' would be positive in terms of property prices for the region.

“But it is important that people who are selling are aware that we are currently in an over-supplied market,” he said.

“That's no secret to anyone given the amount of media coverage about interest rates, etc, and that has effects that we're not immune to.

“However, there are opportunities for anyone considering buying, be they investors or first home-buyers.

“Now is a great time to buy. Smart investors are having a serious look at the market at the moment.”

Bruce Supple, of Patch & Taylor Real Estate in Lismore, said that the properties 'in demand' were in the $250,000 to $350,000 price range. “We've also had rush on bush blocks,” he said.

“Despite the cost of petrol, we have people coming down from Brisbane and the Gold Coast wanting weekenders and lifestyle properties south of Casino and west of Coraki - we need more blocks for them!

“The other side is that we have buyers for grazing properties for 150 to 400 cattle - there's still a market there. And lifestyle properties around the $400,000 to $450,000 mark are in demand. The Rock Valley house on the cover of last weekend's Property Week had a huge amount of interest; traffic out there didn't stop all weekend having a look.”

Gerald Pollard, of Wal Murray & Co Lismore, agrees that sales are still happening, although 'the market has lost its urgency'. “But rental in Lismore has increased dramatically and that in turn helps the investor,” he said. “Houses and units up to $300,000-350,000 are still turning over steadily because we're still very affordable compared with neighbouring towns.”

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