MARKET MIX: John Nicolson, McGrath principal in Ballina.
MARKET MIX: John Nicolson, McGrath principal in Ballina. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Property’s simmering in the city

LOCAL real estate agents are predicting a flow on effect from the increase in metropolitan house prices over the past year to regional areas.

RP Data show capital city home prices rose by 1.4% in December, bringing the overall figure to 9.8% for the year.

The property consulting company said it is likely the lifting in land sales, building approvals and new home sales should result in an increase in housing supply over the first half of 2014.

McGrath Ballina Real Estate principal, John Nicolson, said that although prices had increased in metropolitan areas, regional areas such as the Northern Rivers were yet to feel the effects.

"Generally when you have house prices in the metro areas they take time to follow through into the regional areas," he said.

"There's been a market increase in the volume of sales (in the Northern Rivers), but at this stage there's been no significant price rises.

"But we are very confident that given the increase activity on the market and historical evidence of prices flowing from metro to country and regional areas, that we will see price increases this year."

The McGrath website currently has Ballina listed as the third most viewed suburb in NSW, ahead of Manly, Bondi Beach and Randwick.

Mr Nicolson said the increased interest in Ballina is likely the result of retirees looking to move out of the city, after the GFC caused many of them to delay their initial retirement.

First National Alstonville sales consultant Curtis Golding said he expects the region will see an increase in property values, but not as significant as the rise in metropolitan areas.

"I think we'll see an increase, but I don't think our property will increase as much as Sydney," he said.

"Because it's a regional area, there's not as much demand for jobs and such, but we'll see more retirees come to the area."

Mr Golding said he expects Ballina and Alstonville will do really well this year, with Lennox Head and Evans Head having already undergone an increase in property values.



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