The month in review: Wollongong
By Herron Todd White
Cliff Road and North Wollongong are where the high-end medium-density developments are located in the Illawarra region. A $3.35 million sale of a unit on Blackett Street, North Wollongong in July 2018 is an example and a 2018 off market sale at $4 million of an oversized podium level unit in Rockpool on Cliff Road are examples.
We have been unable to identify any open market sales of single coastal residential dwellings that break the $4 million barrier across the Illawarra, although we note an ocean front property comprising two dwellings did sell in Hyams Beach for $4.8 million in May 2018. Hyams Beach is the most popular of the Jervis Bay towns for holiday homes, with other spots such as Currarong, Huskisson and Vincentia also being favourites.
The $4 million ceiling can be well and truly smashed when it comes to rural lifestyle properties. Areas around Berry are well known getaway spots for purchasers with high levels of discretionary income, with many Sydney rich-listers having weekenders in the region. A recent example is a rural lifestyle property comprising 100 hectares, expansive hinterland views and contemporary architect designed residence in Wire Lane in Berry which sold in December 2018 for $5.4 million.
But what if you are lacking the oversized bank account? Is it possible to buy into these champagne locations on a beer budget?
Well, the easiest thing to give up is a view. If you want to be a part of the action but don’t need to look at it, this can save a significant amount of money. Houses in Stanwell Park can still be purchased for less than $1 million, or if $750,000 is more your idea of affordability then there are plenty of villas and townhouses still within 500 metres of the beach that sell for around this mark in Thirroul and Austinmer. The market has even weakened enough for a sale of a house in Hyams Beach to drop under $1 million in October, but don’t think you’ll be able to see the water from your living area.
The best residential locations in the Illawarra still appear to be in sync with the rest of the market. Recent weakening conditions have also hit these locations and affordability is starting to return. The prospects moving forward are estimated to be similar on a broader scale, expectations that the market will bottom out and stabilise for a decent period prior to starting the growth phase of the cycle again in the future.