The month in review: Regional NSW Property Market Updates

By Herron Todd White
April 2019

Casino / Kyogle Property Market

The rural townships of Casino and Kyogle possess similar characteristics in that properties within close proximity to the CBD are generally sought after and attract price levels at the upper end of the market range for the region. The same can be applied to the areas comprising new developments such as modern houses in an estate approximately three kilometres north-east of Kyogle town centre where price levels have broken through the $400,000 mark.

The satellite suburb of Gays Hill, approximately five kilometres south-west of Casino CBD, is considered the premier location for residential stock in Casino, thanks in part to the above average sized lots and high quality large homes. Recent sales in the past three years have seen the half-million-mark being breached.

Proximity to the CBD in both townships is also associated with other key features including proximity to schools, shopping, banks and parks.

Opportunities for the price conscious individual are generally limited in proximity to the CBD. Any lower priced residential stock is generally in moderate or poor condition and would require significant maintenance and renovation. However, these are few and far between with competition also coming from the investor sector.

The key positive for Casino and Kyogle is that as regional towns within the Northern Rivers region, they are two of the few townships which are still relatively affordable in comparison to other regional towns.

Now that the residential property market is experiencing a slight softening and coupled with tighter lending criteria, opportunities in the future could reveal some good buys in the town centre for the well prepared and those with a penchant for a hammer and nails could generate some tidy profit.

Ballina /Byron Bay Property Market

The most sought-after localities in the Ballina Shire are Lennox Head/Skennars Head, East Ballina and the rural localities from Tintenbar to Newrybar.

Locations from Lennox Head through to East Ballina are considered sought after for their proximity to beaches and services, whilst the rural localities of Tintenbar to Newrybar are considered the southern areas of the Byron Hinterland. The cheapest property within Lennox Head (excluding serviced apartments which are not suitable for permanent residential occupation) in 2018 was a modest but tidy two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit with a single garage in Aurora Place which transacted for $460,000. This property, whilst small and modest, is located within walking distance of shops and beaches.

On Lennox Hill the cheapest dwelling in 2018 transacted for $670,000. This property was located on Survey Street and comprised a modest 1980s two-bedroom dwelling, however does feature restricted ocean views.

Generally speaking, it is now difficult to purchase a freestanding dwelling within Lennox Head under $700,000 and East Ballina is considered slightly more affordable than Lennox Head. The cheapest unit within East Ballina in 2018 transacted for $290,000 and comprises an internally renovated two-bedroom villa. The cheapest dwelling in East Ballina transacted for $510,000. This property was located on Mcdougall Street and comprised a lowset circa 1980 three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling with single garage.

The Byron Shire’s three best locations would be the suburbs of Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Lennox Head. These coastal resort towns which are currently thriving from an influx of interstate buyers are having a regentrification to their CBDs. The main attractions to Byron Bay are the fact that properties are flat and level and are in close proximity to the township. As with Lennox Head, the main attraction in this suburb includes elevated views still within close proximity to the CBD.

However, if you wanted to buy a cheaper property in these locations, your options are as follows:

Byron Bay – It would be best to try and source a property out in the Sunrise development. These properties are considered to be slightly less desirable due to their close proximity to the industrial estate and further out of town, being approximately three kilometres away from the CBD.

Suffolk Park – There are thinning options for a cheaper property in this suburb. The only option would be to try and source a smaller block in the Baywood Chase estate on the western side of the Coast Road, where there are pockets of properties within the 400 to 500 square metre market.

Lennox Head – It would be best to try and source a property out the back of the Pines estate. Properties here are typically a little older, located in an established area with elevated views approximately 3 kilometres away from the CBD.

Absolute entry level price points in these desirable coastal resort towns are as follows:

Byron Bay: one to two-bedroom units, located within close proximity to town with prices between $500,000 and $600,000;

Suffolk Park: two to three-bedroom units, located within close proximity to town with prices around $700,000;

Lennox Head: one to two-bedroom modest style units in 1970s style complexes with prices around $500,000.

Real examples of these options include:

Byron Bay:

  • 5 Old Bangalow Road – right on the brink of Byron Bay and offers walk up style, two-bedroom units.
  • Shirley Street – If not zoned as a tourist facility, offers modest style, one to two-bedroom units in a busy location.

Lennox Head:

  • Aurora Place – 1970s built unit complexes provide an affordable location with a slightly dated style.
  • Byron Street – Located on the main thoroughfare heading out of town, affordability is achieved here at the expense of proximity to the CBD.

Buying a property in these coastal resort towns is a good idea if it is a long-term holding. If market conditions remain stable and these options are taken up for a long term capital holding, then they can be observed to be a good buy. Urbanisation will see the CBD areas sprawl out, so close proximity to the township is becoming very sought after.

There seems to be little to no differences in this local shire between investors and owner-occupiers. Investors and owner-occupiers are both working in the same market presently, but if there is a fluctuation in the market, this could always change.

Coffs Harbour Property Market

When talking best location within the Coffs Harbour region, I’m sure you would get very heated debate over which locations would make the top three. The diversity of property on offer from the beach to the bush is wide and all offer great lifestyle opportunities, depending on the lifestyle you are after.

In an attempt to identify three which we think are worthy of debate, we’ll need to look at values and more specifically top end value localities as price is the ultimate indicator of supply and demand.

We’ll kick off with one of the better known beachside destinations of Sawtell, approximately ten kilometres south of central Coffs Harbour. The main feature of the area is a very vibrant and trendy shopping strip and popular swimming and surfing beach. Real shows a median house price of $682,500 which will barely get you a 1960s fishing shack within the more sought after central Sawtell location. Entry level are the older style motel units which are circa 25 to 35 square metres with no covered car accommodation. These are limited and will set you back around $150,000 to $200,000 depending on the location. This style of unit does represent good cheap buying and is perfect for the investor or single or couple looking for a holiday unit. For buyers looking for more than a shoe box to live in, we step up to the 1970s to 1980s walk up complexes being generally two-bedroom, one-bathroom and covered car accommodation. You may get one for $350,000 to $400,000, although the decent ones close to the village centre will start at around $400,000.

From here, prices go skyward depending on the unit. Modern high-quality units start around the $650,000 mark. Entry level for a home close to the village centre is $650,000 being a fibro shack, whilst any modern construction will be $850,000-plus and on the beach side, if you can find one, there will be no change from $1 million to $1.3 million for a renovator’s delight. Good quality beach properties are $1.7 million and up. Long-term prospects for Sawtell are good as this is a known blue chip location driven by limited supply and high demand.

Next off the rank is the harbour location known as The Jetty which is three kilometres east of the Coffs Harbour town centre. This location, like Sawtell, is well known by the latte set with plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from. It is well located to town, the harbour precinct and beaches with good ocean views available from many of the properties. Entry level here is around the $250,000 mark for an older 1980s walk-up unit in the back streets with no views and requiring a lot of TLC. Generally, a decent two-bedroom, one-bathroom walk up unit will set you back in the $300,000 to $350,000 range. Houses are more difficult to find with a very basic 1970s style house on a 600 square metre, main road position setting you back $500,000. Anything off main road with a hint of a view or potential to further develop will jump up to $600,000. Good quality homes with ocean views are $950,000 up to $1.75 million. There are some properties listed higher than $1.75 million, however the market is very thin at this level and generally limited to the out of town buyers. Modern units with views will start at $600,000 up to the $1.2 millionmark generally.

As advice for the investor in this area (with rent returns being very strong), I would suggest seeking out the older style two-bedroom units in the sub-$300,000 range in a small complex with large landsize which may reap some potential re-development in the long term. Long-term prospects for The Jetty will always be strong with several new medium-rise developments earmarked for the future plus the revamping of the Jetty foreshore which is a major attraction to the area.

Lastly in my top three, we will move away from the beach and go 35 kilometres west to the very popular rural township of Bellingen. Bellingen is a semi-rural township located within the scenic Bellinger Valley and on the banks of the Bellinger River. According to the 2016 census, the township of Bellingen has approximately 3,074 residents. The local economy remains rural oriented with timber and horticulture associated activities forming the major industries. The town has become increasingly popular over recent years with alternative life-stylists or tree changers with a high proportion of the market activity being from the out of town purchasers coming from the metropolitan areas.

The town has a varied style product available, from the more modern fringe locations dominated by 1990 to 2010 built traditional brick homes to the more sought after inner town locations which feature the quintessential character homes of the early 1900s. There is very limited unit product available, typical of older established rural towns. What is available is modest and entry level value is $250,000 to $300,000. Entry level homes will be varied in style, either original cottage or semimodern, brick-and-tile which will set you back in the order of $400,000 to $450,000. A character home in a central town location will start around the $700,000 mark and top out around the $950,000 to $1 million.

For the investor, this area is riskier. The economics of a small rural township don’t provide for the infrastructure or jobs to support high income levels and those reliant on commuting to work or conducting internet-based tasks aren’t well catered for either. The area has seen some strong capital growth over recent years, driven by the general market uplift and out of town tree changers. The fear is that now the capital city markets are on the decline, the buyer pool from these markets will decrease, creating softer market conditions.

Chat with a Smartline Coffs Harbour Mortgage Broker today.

Albury Property Market

Location in Albury is predominantly focused on proximity to the CBD and shopping or view, aspect and street appeal. Like many expanding regional cities, Albury’s core features older homes and units and as you increase the radius from the centre, homes become younger and are brand spanking new by the time you reach the outer rings of the city, so location predetermines the age of the majority of stock available.

Central Albury offers the highest proportion of period homes circa 1900 to 1940, a limited number of older units circa 1950 to 1980 and a scattering of modern homes and townhouses. With old homes you have old streets which means gorgeous tree lined avenues full of character dwellings, a good proportion now highly renovated and extended. Sometimes it is difficult to get a full picture of what is happening in this highly sought after location due to the number of off market transactions occurring. Often a chat with a resident can unleash more market info than from the local agent. There is a limited supply of these properties and they do not come to market very often and do not last long when they do, being very popular with young professionals, families and downsizers or farmers retiring with cash to spend.

The entry-level in Central Albury has increased significantly in the past three to five years. Units remain well priced and entry level is approximately $200,000 for an unrenovated, 1980s, two-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car unit and approximately $500,00 to $550,000 for an unrenovated, possibly original condition, circa 1920 to 1940 three-bedroom, one-bathroom brick cottage. These properties generally have one of two features – super close to the CBD or super great street appeal.

The compromise for entry level in Central Albury is living in an old dwelling with basic fit out requiring complete renovation and no budget to do it. This is fine if you are patient and happy to wait for the next lift in prices where we have seen unrenovated homes increase from around $300,000 to $500,000, meaning there was nearly as much uplift from holding and not renovating as there was from the complete do over, or alternatively enjoying the increased equity over a relatively short time period enabling the call to the master builder for a quotation for an addition or renovation. More patience again, these builders mirror the central Albury scenario of limited supply and high demand and a wait list for the really good ones. There is speculation at present on whether this market segment will sustain the profile of who is entering the market, however what is clear is if you need $500,000 to get in, a recent sale at $540,000 for a circa 1920, brick three-bedroom,one-bathroom, one-car in basic condition on 629 square metres and $400,000 to renovate and the recent ground breaking sale at $965,000 for a circa 1934, red brick, highly renovated and extended five-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car with pool on 764 square metre level block with no views located on the fringe of the Central Albury hot spot will have to become the norm not the exception. If this happens, there will be no real discussion required on snagging a champagne location with a beer budget on what we call the flat of Central Albury.

Of course, this makes what is happening in areas either within close proximity to blue ribbon central Albury or areas with similar aged housing stock very interesting. And before looking a little further afield, the areas next to central Albury are now being marketed as central as well, as the market considers how to get into the second or third best option. The housing stock changes, it is more mixed, with fewer circa 1900 to 1940 stock, but a great mix with circa 1945 to 1975 dwellings trading on slope for some very nice local and city skyline views. This area, dubbed Forrest Hill by locals, is north-west of central. Some of it is walkable to town, but the real appeal is the interesting housing stock (the largest supply of art decos in town – the most recent sale at $585,000 was a circa 1950, three-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car in good but original condition, within walking distance from town on 1,098 square metres), larger homes that may only need renovating not full additions and homes that were usually built to capitalise on the views they have and provide under house storage too. This area is popular with people still determined to shun suburbia but locked out of the flat. Beer is on the way out here too. Remodelling homes on hills is pricey but we are seeing the rewards for those with the deep pockets to do so, with a recent sale of $1.08 million for a for a circa 1965, highly renovated, five-bedroom, threebathroom, four-car with pool and terrific views setting a new bar for this area. Entry here is craft beer only.

This central Albury phenomena is being mirrored in old East Albury, not surprisingly east of the CBD on the other side of the railway line and Hume Freeway, but still walking distance to town if you live on the flat or easy sloping areas of East Albury. The older character dwellings are on the flat and gradually get younger and more mixed as you progress up the hill. This is the logical area if locked out of central Albury and entry for an unrenovated dwelling sub-$300,000 was common. The majority of original dwellings are only three-bedroom, one-bathroom, so addition and renovation is required to really capitalise on the location. People love old East Albury and whilst sales have been strong, there is still an occasional opportunity to purchase an original condition older dwelling to DIY but the real beauty of old East Albury is a lot of stock coming to market has already been renovated and possibly extended and you can get more for your money with nothing to do. A recent sale at $390,000 of a renovated, circa 1960 three-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car in a good street is an example. It wasn’t large and sold in 2014 for $292,000 with only a refresh and alfresco added since. So if you have $400,000, apart from size of house, there is not much compromise. Location trumps a second bathroom or adequate car accommodation in this area.

So if you do not have $400,000 to $550,000 to enter central or old East Albury, the compass and market has sharply moved to North and South Albury. North Albury, now marketed very often as central Albury fringe, has been flagged as the best buying in Albury for a few years now and apart from a small exclusive pocket, entry level on a beer budget anywhere from $180,000 to $250,000 for stock circa 1950s to 1960s is still happening. This is a flipping paradise in the making. The major compromise may be some non-sought-after local street appeal and deciding whether to renovate or knock it down.

The final great location, once only for the industrial minded and not for the faint hearted, is South Albury. It is super close to town and even with a substantial and mixed industrial hub and feel, all eyes for a nearly there terrific location are hip to this area. The savvy entry level central hunters and investors have been buying in this location for a while now and the line between the good or bad parts of South Albury are fading as the industrial stigma turns to trendy rustic chic, but an esky full of beer still goes a fair way here. A recent sale at $155,000 for a fibro shack on a 671 square metre block surrounded by industrial uses on three sides is the exception rather than the rule these days, and a sale at $537,500 of a circa 1930, renovated red brick, four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car with the rear neighbour being an industrial site shows the market will accept the compromise of sharing a suburb with residential and industrial coexisting. Is it worth buying in South Albury from a pure location point of view? Yes, it is.

There is a reason location is the first factor valuers consider in comparable sales analysis – you cannot change it and you cannot make more of it. This is especially the case in regional cities where building up (high rise development) is nearly non-existent, making supply very limited and a good location appeals to many different buyer profiles. Investors and home-owners alike benefit from acquiring a property in a great location. In Albury capital gain probably trumps returns in prime locations, but this is a moveable feast with the factors for popularity diverse (including Sydney and Melbourne buyers with both champagne taste and budget) and potential being realised. It really is all about location, location, location and the desire for champagne on a beer budget enhances other areas as the market continues to seek out this scenario. The good news in Albury is our housing affordability translates to a great deal of choice and diversity of housing stock without the central location. In five to ten minutes, you can be anywhere on the compass with your ice bucket or esky.

Tamworth Property Market

Tamworth’s top locations (in order of preference) are East Tamworth, North Tamworth and the southern part of Hillvue. Each of these markets offers buyers different options whether it be larger blocks but dated homes or modern homes on a smaller block.

East Tamworth is the most sought after due to its close CBD location, larger blocks and the established federation style of dwelling with established parks and landscaping throughout the suburb. To get into East Tamworth on a budget, a purchaser will need to be willing to put in a little bit of elbow grease to bring the property up to a good standard. For an older dwelling in need of renovation, a buyer would be looking at $300,000 to $400,000. For example, 52 Rawson Avenue recently sold for $327,500 as a dated three-bedroom, one-bathroom weatherboard dwelling. It’s in central East and in need of renovation throughout. It is a good example of what can be picked up in a good location on a budget.

North Tamworth gives a buyer the flexibility of living close to the CBD in an older style dwelling in the closer, established parts of the suburb, or moving slightly further out into one of the new fringe subdivisions and purchasing or building a modern home. An older property will set you back $270,000 to $350,000. As with East, these properties will require renovation but once completed the buyer will be walking distance to the CBD and surrounded by established properties. 27 Hyman Street recently sold for $280,000 as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom weatherboard dwelling in dated condition.

On the modern side of things, $370,000 to $400,000 is where a buyer will be able to enter this market. 17 Sherborne Street recently sold for $382,500 as a 2018, three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick veneer dwelling.

The southern area of Hillvue, being nearby or adjoining the Longyard golf course, offers great views and modern builds. This area is very attractive for those wanting a modern home in a prestigious location. This area, while the least sought after, is the most expensive to get into due to the age of the properties. $400,000 to $450,000 is the range that buyers would be looking at to get into this area with $395,000 recently paid for 25 The Patio, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick dwelling and only eight years old. The downside to purchasing on a budget in this area is size, with block sizes often below 500 square metres. The above mentioned sale is 492 square metres which when compared to the other modern suburbs of Tamworth is quite small.

As stated, between these three suburbs, a buyer has a large range of choice depending on their motivation to renovate or just walk straight in. There is higher potential growth within East and North Tamworth, not only with natural capital growth but also with the correct renovations adding good value to a property. On the flipside of the coin, Hillvue offers a higher rate of rental return so the choice depends on an investor’s aim.

Chat with a Smartline Tamworth Mortgage Broker today.

Central Coast Property Market

The Central Coast region of New South Wales lies approximately midway between the state’s capital of Sydney and the beautiful port city of Newcastle. Some say this is a perfect place to be – we can skip down the motorway to Sydney and escape the place just as easily or head north to Newcastle to experience everything that wonderful city has on offer.

In the end though, returning to the coast is what life is all about.

This month, we are nominating some champagne locations within the region and exploring what can be purchased on a beer budget.

Terrigal and Wamberal have long been regarded as the region’s places to be. These are adjoining beach locations with a cool shopping and tourist precinct, great food spots, parks and of course, a near perfect beach – rival locations are few. At the top of the real estate price guide, a beachfront property with a renovated five-bedroom dwelling recently sold for $3.95 million and a near new penthouse apartment with four bedrooms in the thick of Terrigal Town Centre sold for a little over $2.7 million.

For those looking to secure property in Terrigal or Wamberal with limited funds available, we have noticed that an older style two-bedroom dwelling recently sold for $560,000. It is located away from the beach and tourist precinct and needs some updating, but for this outlay, we consider this very good buying but somewhat rare. Older units are more common in the area and we have seen a few selling for less than $600,000. A well-placed unit within the Terrigal Bowl recently sold for $565,000. It was a ground floor, unrenovated, two-bedder, but less than 150 metres to the beach.

The northern end of the region’s answer to Terrigal would have to be The Entrance and what a wonderful location this is. More shops and eateries than can be imagined and a very cool, family friendly beach and esplanade area. Prices here are much more reasonable. A tastefully renovated home with four bedrooms on the beach at the beautiful Toowoon Bay recently sold for $3.56 million with a very well appointed and modern four-bedroom apartment at The Entrance North selling for $2 million.

At the other end of the real estate scale, we have noticed a two-bedroom unit with single garage and corridor water views in a 1980s style complex opposite the beach has sold for $500,000 with lower prices being seen as we move one street away from the beachfront area. An old but neat three-bedroom dwelling with a carport in the backstreets of The Entrance sold for $575,000.

If a more rural setting is preferable, then we would have to say that Matcham is regarded as the best location for small acreage. Values here are variable with the main point of difference between values being the level of dwelling and ground improvements. At the top end of the market, a dwelling with a high standard of finishes, six bedrooms, six-car garage, tennis court, resort style pool and manicured grounds has been sold for $4.5 million. More affordable properties within Matcham can be secured for around the $1.5 million mark and at this level, buyers can expect a renovated and a well-appointed three-bedroom dwelling with small pool, garage and the added bonus of a neat and tidy second dwelling for extra income.

Back in the real world, another favourite location would be Woongarrah. This location is just off the M1 motorway and home to many young families and commuters to Sydney. It is a relatively new suburb with an abundance of mostly project style dwellings. The benefit of this location is the closeness of good shopping, schools, hospital and Motorway access. At the higher end of the real estate values, we have seen large four and five-bedroom dwellings with garaging, undercover entertaining areas and most likely a pool being sold in the high $800,000s. More affordable dwellings can easily be found. We have recently come across a circa 1995 single level, three-bedroom, one-car garage brick and tile dwelling that sold for $445,000.

Chat with a Smartline Central Coast Mortgage Broker today.

Southern Highlands

Bowral (current median value of $915,000) is the commercial centre of the Southern Highlands and is increasingly popular with Sydney families and retirees who continue to discover the region as an alternative to an increasingly congested urban existence. The benefits aside from the more relaxed lifestyle include proximity to retail, medical, school and transport infrastructure as well as a reasonable commute time to Canberra, with many locals opting to fly domestically out of Canberra airport. In the township of Bowral, purchasers can expect to compromise on the age and condition of the property within secondary locations in order to enter the bottom end of the Bowral market. With more recent signs of the market recently cooling off, the entry point into the Bowral market is around $490,000, demonstrated by the sale at this price in September 2018 of a 1970s renovated, three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling on Sheaffe Street, only a short drive to Bowral’s CBD, albeit located in an established public housing area which limited broader market appeal. Whilst we wouldn’t classify this as a champagne location, in our opinion the medium and long-term prospects of this area of Bowral will continue to transform as we see young families and investors buy into these precincts and benefit from general cosmetic renovation works, enhancing the overall appeal of the area.

Burradoo (current median value of $1.5 million) is considered one of the higher-end suburbs in the Southern Highlands, comprising a mix of older style substantial scale residences and curtilage, dating back to the late 1800s and turn of the 20th century, to a large proportion of 1980s brick veneer and concrete tile dwellings on 4,000 square metre lots and more recently, executive-style residences and project homes. Burradoo is appealing due to its close proximity to the Bowral town centre and secondary schools.

The entry price point to Burradoo is around $920,000 for an original 1950s three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling on Toongoon Road. Buyers with a beer budget trying to enter the blue-ribbon locations of Burradoo should expect to compromise on the age and condition of the property in order to reap the benefits of the leafy tree lined streets on the great Australian dream half acre lot. Historically, a premium price is being paid by investors for sites with circa 1960s, 1970s and 1980s dated houses in these prestigious suburbs due to the limited land releases and tightly held vacant parcels in these areas. The above having been said, Burradoo has, along with other rural lifestyle acreage across the Highlands such as Sutton Forest and Exeter, shown a historically higher degree of market volatility. This has been up to 40 per cent, particularly in the $3 million-plus price point where purchasers are increasingly discriminating in their decisions. Some elements of that volatility relate to ancillary improvements, expansive landscaped gardens, water features and equine facilities.

Burrawang (current median value of $1.375 million) is a small country village some 20 kilometres south-east of Bowral. The precinct is comprised of a mix of rural lifestyle and rural properties in proximity to the historic village of Burrawang which features many cottages and churches in the area dating back to colonial times. Again, as in Burradoo, there’s been historically increased market volatility with some of the larger rural lifestyle and rural holdings. Some of that volatility can be attributed to the presence across Burrawang of high tension power lines transecting many properties.

Berrima (current median value is $1.525 million) is a small village within close proximity to the Bowral Commercial hub and is renowned for its historical significance and country lifestyle dating back to the early 1830s.

The entry point to both Berrima and Burrawang is $700,000 to $800,000 for a two-to-three bedroom, one-bathroom cottage within close proximity to the villages and attracts a similar demographic of buyer being the Sydneysider, weekender and retiree. These buyers should expect to compromise on the condition and fit out in order to reside in these premium grade historic villages at this price point. The medium and longer-term prospects of these locations is considered to be more volatile compared to the overall Wingearribee Shire markets as a large proportion of the market in these locations relies on discretionary income levels being maintained.

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