Coastal development keeps young people on Northern Rivers
MORE and more young Northern Rivers residents are looking closer to home when buying a new property.
Increased development activity, upgraded infrastructure and employment opportunities are encouraging young residents in the Lennox-Ballina area to purchase in their area.
Elders Lennox Head principal Michael King said improved lifestyle and economic conditions meant a growing number of local young couples and families were choosing to invest in the region instead of searching for a new home further afield.
Mr King said the Lennox-Ballina region currently had numerous active residential developments selling land off-the-plan, giving residents more choice than in previous years, while major road upgrades had made the area even more connected and accessible.
"What we're seeing is more young people choosing to stay in the area they grew up in instead of moving to be closer to work or education, and I think that is a function of the fact that there's more opportunity here now," he said.
"The Lennox-Ballina region has always had a price point advantage over neighbouring Byron Bay and the Tweed and Gold Coasts, and young people are recognising that it makes sense to stay and take advantage of the growth the region is experiencing.
"While the area is growing and changing, it still has a relaxed, village vibe that other coastal areas no longer have, and that is another significant reason why young people are keen to stay and raise their families here."
Mr King said the demographic of purchasers in the now sold out first stage of Clarence Property's Epiq Lennox Head community was representative of the region's increasing appeal to the younger generation.
A report shows a third of the first 51 homesites in Epiq were secured by purchasers aged between 20 - 30 years, while 62% of all buyers were under 40.
The majority (67%) were from the Lennox-Ballina region, and 33% were first time buyers.
"In previous years residential land has been drip-fed to the market and that has meant prices were often out of reach for entry level purchasers, but now that larger masterplanned communities like Epiq are on the market homesites are more affordable," Mr King said.
"The other positive trend we are seeing is that young people who already own a home are choosing to re-invest in the area, which means that second and third home buyers have confidence in the market and are likely to stay for the long term."
Wes Bale is a 27-year-old born and bred Lennox Head local who is an example of the demographic shift in the region.
"I grew up in Lennox Head and love the relaxed, beachside lifestyle here," he said.
"When I decided to buy a property I was initially looking at established houses, because there wasn't much else available in Lennox.
"When land was released at Epiq I realised it made sense to take advantage of the $15,000 first home buyer grant and build a new home to suit my needs.
"I work locally as an IT consultant so I'm glad I have been able to find an affordable block of land close to the village which means I won't have to commute and I can remain close to family and friends."