'Super Saturday' fails to make a local mark

SATURDAY was dubbed 'Super Saturday' across the nation, not because of the nail-biting AFL Grand Final but due to the rush of young property buyers eager to take advantage of the $7000 extension to the First-Home Buyer grant before it expires on October 1.

Unfortunately it was far from 'super' across our region. Real estate agents reported yesterday that while there is much interest from young couples wanting to get a foothold in the property market, they are mostly out of luck.

In our area, there simply isn't enough housing stock in their price range. Those lucky few who have realised the 'Great Aussie dream' have had to move away from family and friends. Agents report that many who have bought have done so in Casino and, to a much lesser extent, Lismore.

The problem is there simply aren't enough first-home buyer properties to go around.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the economic doldrums and fear of interest rate hikes in the near future have made families think twice before upgrading to their second more costly homes.

And secondly as the area's population has grown, our housing stock has not.

In normal times this shortage would encourage developers to build new homes. But these aren't normal times, and while residential construction in other regional areas have remained solid, once again this in not the case on the Northern Rivers.

This puts the onus firmly on our councils to encourage more construction. In Lismore it means removing infrastructure bottlenecks, such as the lack of sewerage facilities, while other councils, like Byron, must allow more medium-density housing.



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