By Herron Todd White
August 2019

Lismore Property Updates

First home buyers/affordable end

Many first home buyers feel a sense of optimism about commencing their journey into the property market. Obtaining real value for money, affordability (repayments) and wariness of making a mistake are their key concerns. Many first home buyers can be categorised into two groups:

  1. Those who are over the rental roller coaster and the high costs of renting even a modest property in their preferred location
  2. Those who want the perceived stability of owning their own home and are intent on building a nest for their existing or imminent family.

Within the Lismore locality, the affordable end of the market that provides an entry into the property market for let’s say less than $350,000 offers a wider range of choice not available in the beachside or coastal areas.

103 Nielson Street, East Lismore sold for $335,000 in March this year. The property is flood free according to Lismore City Council records, is within 50 metres of sporting fields, three kilometres by road from the Lismore CBD and within one kilometre of the Southern Cross University.

Built in the 1950s and recently internally renovated, this three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling is set on a 506 square metre, near-level lot with a single garage and room for a shed at the rear or a carport in front of the single garage.

3/25 Cambridge Drive, Goonellabah sold for $320,000 in April this year. The property is flood free according to Lismore City Council records, backs on to a bushland reserve and is within one kilometre of schools, parks and Goonellabah shopping centre and aquatic centre.

Built in 1994 and recently internally renovated, this three-bedroom, one-bathroom unit has a single garage and has been well maintained. A paved outdoor area at the rear overlooks bushland. There is scope to further improve this unit and add value by adding a rear pergola and updating the kitchen to suit.

Upgrader home buyers

Upgraders feel the need to expand their living to cater for growing families, create more comfort and move on up the property ladder.

Within the Lismore locality, upgraders from the entry-level end of the property market with a budget between $350,000 and $600,000 have a wide range of choice that again is not available in the beachside or coastal areas.

45 Barham Street, East Lismore sold for $450,000 in May this year. The property is well elevated with district views and is within 2.5 kilometres of schools, Lismore golf course, sporting parks and Lismore Square shopping centre.

Built in 1985, it’s a two-storey, three-bedroom, one-bathroom, renovated, detached modern dwelling with a two-car detached garage and two-car attached carport. The dwelling has room to remodel the lower level rumpus room into more bedrooms or a home theatre room. Rendering the external brick skin, expanding the rear pergola to a large deck and adding an infinity-edge pool could take this property to the next level and add significant value, but watch the budget!

Prestige-end buyers

Prestige property in the Lismore area is to be taken in context. This is a property that offers features, dwelling size or views that are not available to the upgrade market or first home buyer price levels. Whether it be from a win, windfall or just plain hard work, people in this market expect that their property is a cut above the rest and they deserve to be there.

At a price point above $600,000, local prestige property is available but sells less frequently and sometimes the best properties sell by word of mouth or by an unsolicited approach.

11 Sophie Street, Goonellabah sold for $618,000 in May this year. The property is well elevated in a modern estate with local views and is within three kilometres of schools, sporting parks and Goonellabah shopping centre.

Built in 2004, this two-storey, four-bedroom, two-bathroom, detached two-level modern dwelling has 213 square metres of living area, large rear deck, a double lock-up garage, extensive landscaping and a below ground pool all on a 788 square metre allotment. Features include:

  • Stone benchtops and gas cooking
  • Raised ceilings in the lounge
  • Air conditioning
  • Polished hardwood timber flooring in the living areas

Additional storage area under the dwelling could be used to further expand the living area, but all that really needs doing to this property is just to keep it well maintained and tidy.

4 Quail Place, Richmond Hill sold for $840,000 in April this year. The property is well elevated with good rural and distant hinterland views and is within a ten-minute drive of schools and Goonellabah shopping centre.

Built in the 1980s and renovated in 2012, this part two-level, four-bedroom, three-bathroom, detached semi-modern dwelling has 278 square metres of living, outdoor areas of 94 square metres and is on a 1.54 hectare allotment.

The property has room to be improved with a shed, pool, stable or tennis court.

Speak with a Lismore Harbour Mortgage Broker today.

Casino/Kyogle Property Updates

For the rural service towns of Casino (Richmond Valley Council area) and Kyogle (Kyogle Shire Council), the primary concern of most local buyers is the price point rather than location, location, location.

Sure, there are well renovated older style or modern properties with all the bells and whistles within close proximity of the town centre, however the reality is that within both Casino and Kyogle, the radius from the town centre to the fringe of the urban development is well under three kilometres, so most town services available within a small country town are generally nearby.

First home buyers, those looking to dip their toe into the property market, are REALLY price conscious, particularly if they have a limited budget and are at the mercy of tighter lender criteria (hmmmm, but that might be changing in the near future methinks…).

Fortunately, both Casino and Kyogle are, in comparison to other rural towns and villages of the Far North Coast or Northern Rivers region, are somewhat more affordable with opportunities still available within the sub $250,000 price bracket. Yes, they need a bit of work, but provide an opportunity for the industrious first home buyer to put their stamp on the renovation project.

The majority of properties within Casino and Kyogle linger within the $250,000 to $400,000 price range and are dotted throughout the townships, with the price point primarily affected by the condition, presentation, degree of or lack of renovation and functionality (such as a number of bedrooms, bathrooms and car accommodation).

Properties in the upper market category can be generally found in the well-established estates which, interestingly, are further away from the town centre.

For Casino, this would include Gays Hill being approximately four kilometres south-west of Casino CBD. Here we find a mixture of recent, modern residential development and well established residential houses from the later 1980s to early 1990s with one feature in common… a larger than average size residential allotment (1,100 square metres). It’s a popular spot for up-graders, where sale prices have breached the $500,000 mark in recent years.

The same can be said for the Mayfield Estate (approximately two kilometres north-east by road from Kyogle CBD) and the Geneva (a slightly further 2.5 kilometres west of Kyogle CBD) where some well-heeled properties have quietly punched through the $400,000 price bracket in a relatively tightly held area.

Most of these properties are generally well modernized or new build development with added features of pools, tidy landscaping or having the benefit of views.

There are a handful of residential properties close to town centres that have ALL the features and generally, for Casino and Kyogle, have been subject to extensive renovation work and include a pool, three-plus bedrooms and have a heritage character element.

In summary, for rural towns such as Casino and Kyogle, the radius from the town centre is relatively small, so the key factor that tends to dictate all other things is the almighty dollar, so if you are looking to sell, pitch your promotion on a primary price point that persuades the particular people to ponder!

Ballina Property Updates

Generally speaking, the most desirable properties in the sub $500,000 price range in the Ballina Shire are located close to services within the townships of Ballina and Alstonville or Wollongbar. Within this price bracket buyers are limited in what they can get for their money, however, $500,000 and up to $600,000 would still get you a reasonable three-bedroom dwelling within close proximity of schools and shops in these townships. The mid-range price bracket of say $600,000 up to the early $1 million dollar mark would generally allow buyers to obtain a property in the desirable beachside localities of Lennox Head through to East Ballina or possibly a small acreage property in the Ballina Hinterland. Generally speaking, $1 million in the current market would get you a good quality house on Lennox Hill, possibly with some sort of restricted ocean view. A good example of this is the recent sale of 18 Brolga Place, Lennox Head for $970,000. This property comprises a contemporary style part two-level, four-bedroom, three-bathroom residence with a double garage situated on an 856 square metre lot which has restricted ocean views towards Boulders Beach.

Moving up to the prestige price bracket of properties in excess of say $1.5 million, buyers would expect to either be located within the most sought-after locality of the Ballina Shire, being Lennox Head village or Lennox Hill, Skennars Head or East Ballina with extensive ocean views. Alternatively, somewhere in the $1.5 million to $2 million price bracket would get you an executive style residence on a small acreage in the sought after rural residential locality of Tintenbar, situated 10 to 15 minutes west of Lennox Head.

Clarence Valley Property Updates

Fundamentally, it is location, aspect and condition that are the key features considered by discerning home buyers in the Clarence Valley. Whether it be a rural, ocean or river view, the Clarence has them in abundance.

Whilst across the board the Clarence Valley has seen a period of capital and rental growth, albeit by varying degrees, it is the Yamba patch within easy walking distance of its beaches that continues to stand out. Its sale prices have climbed at a considerably faster rate than its suburban counterpart to the west, easily proving that demand outweighs supply in the current climate. However, it may be the more moderate markets of Grafton, Maclean and other semi-rural villages that may see more stable and resilient capital gains in the long-term. Well, that is the question on everyone’s lips!

The market is most easily arranged into budget buyers/renovators, upgraders and prestige buyers. While they are separate and searching for something different, they all share a common goal – value for money! Across all market segments, everyone wants a deal.

The renovators are seeking gains, whether it be in future rental income or capital, and are therefore more willing to compromise on the condition at the time of purchase. Upgraders are often seeking a finished product with more space and something that requires little work or effort. At the uppermost end, prestige buyers are looking for all the conveniences, views and improvements, however not necessarily space or the mowing that extra land involves.

The Clarence Valley’s current residential property climate is relatively suitable for all buyers and their needs. Ultimately, a buyer’s choice all starts with the fortunate choice between sea, river or land.

Coffs Harbour Property Updates

What are the property fundamentals for Coffs Harbour? In a word… lifestyle!

Nowhere is too far from the beach or bush. Coffs Harbour is one of the few places where the mountains meet the sea, providing an abundance of lifestyle options and opportunities.

Now assuming you wish to live in the town localities, a first home buyer can still live close to the beach for under $500,000. How close is close, you ask? Well, 400 metres from Park Beach, a circa 1960 fibro three-bedroom home on a 513 square metre site sold for $425,000. You are also well located in terms of major shopping with Park Beach Plaza also within 400 metres and the CBD is three kilometres (no traffic lights). This area is currently undergoing gentrification, still having some social stigma associated with a lower socio-economic area. Notwithstanding this, it ticks all the boxes for location. If the first home buyer is wanting something more modern, then they have to venture further afield to the suburbs of West Coffs Harbour, Boambee East or Toormina. Here you will get a more modern 10 to 30-year-old, three to four-bedroom home under $500,000 but still a respectable three to four kilometres from the beach and never too far from major shopping and schools.

Moving to the upgraders who also seek similar localities although have more cash to spend, we typically see them going to the more modern estates. Estates closest to the beach include Korora, Emerald Beach and Sapphire Beach where you are 500 to 800 metres from a beach. These estates have been very popular, with a building boom over recent years. The starting point is $675,000 and typically up to $900,000 before we start getting into the prestige market. Other modern estates which are popular due to their central location to town and schools are North Boambee Valley (Lakes Estate) and Elements Estate at Coffs Harbour. Again, entry points here are $550,000 for Elements and $700,000 for the Lakes Estate.

We also see this sector of the market gravitating to the rural residential locations which have become very popular over the past 12 months. These areas such as Boambee and Bonville to the south and west of the highway to the northern beaches at Moonee Beach, Sapphire Beach and Emerald Beach are all popular with upgraders looking for land plus being within five to six kilometres of the beach and town services. Easy highway access to major schools and shopping in town plus minutes from the beach are hard to find in other localities. Starting points here are $600,000 for a basic home on a one-acre lot, with the majority sitting in the $700,000 to $1 million mark. The prestige market is also well catered for in these areas, regularly seeing values between $1 million and $2 million which would offer elevated homes with coastal views. The town prestige market is typically about the sea and location to services… or more specifically coffee shops and restaurants.

Sawtell is the first which enters the fray having a very vibrant village feel and cafe latte set to rival any hip city location. Prestige here is east of First Avenue and is typically a home on or near the beach. These are tightly held with values starting at $1 million up to $1.9 million. We note this area has not broken the $2 million mark yet although currently listed at 4 Boronia Street, Sawtell is a fully modernised two-level home with water views and 150 metres from the beach asking $2.35 million to $2.5 million.

The other prestige area is known as the Jetty in Coffs Harbour. It is four kilometres east of the town centre and benefits from harbour views and a popular restaurant strip. Here entry level is $750,000 up to circa $2 million. Going north along the beachfront localities, Korora, Sapphire Beach, Moonee Beach, Emerald Beach and Woolgoolga all have their share of prestige properties overlooking the coastline. The majority of sales occur within the $1 million to $1.5 million price range with only eight properties since 2007 hitting values above $1.5 million.

There is a multitude of other locations which share similar attributes with regard to proximity to shopping facilities, schools and beaches which equally suit the first home buyer and the prestige buyer. Being a regional locality, we are not affected by travel time and traffic which plague capital and major city locations.

Speak with a Coffs Harbour Mortgage Broker today.

Central Coast Property Updates

With just the Hawkesbury River separating the Sydney metropolitan area from the New South Wales Central Coast Region, property buyers and occupiers are spoilt for choice. Do we live, work and work in bustling Sydney or live, work and PLAY on the sunny Central Coast?

It’s a tough choice, so let’s see what has made the local market a standout.

Values range from super affordable, mildly expensive, mid-tier to executive and across various property classes – dwellings, units, townhouses, villas and rural.

First Home Buyers and Affordable Buyers

We have found that first home buyers are attracted to either the older, established suburbs or the newer, developing suburbs, depending on individual preferences. First home buyers who have grown up in the region generally have a preference for staying close to their roots and buy established homes close to what they are familiar with in terms of family, friends, work and lifestyle.

Although values grew quicker than savings, those living in the peninsula suburbs of Umina Beach, Woy Woy, Blackwall and Ettalong Beach looked hard for their first homes at prices they could afford. Many succeeded, but just as many had to purchase elsewhere, such as Narara, Niagara Park and Wyoming. Either way, they are areas that are familiar.

These are all older areas that are well known and loved by local first home buyers due to their lifestyle conveniences and familiarity. Getting to Avoca or Terrigal Beaches is an easy drive, fishing on Brisbane Water – easy, Erina Fair or Deepwater Plaza for good shopping, pubs and clubs – too many to name and sporting fields aplenty. Workplaces are also important.

Many dwellings in these areas are the original two-bedroom, one-bathroom configuration and it works. But of course, new owners see lots of renovations and extensions and from our observations, there is a huge number of talented property improvers and stylists.

In past reviews, the sustainability of values on the peninsula was questioned and as we move into the next phase of the market, we have found that values here have indeed fallen, in many cases back to 2016 levels.

Further north, similar scenarios have been observed around the Bateau Bay and Killarney Vale areas where first home buyers have shown an equal preference to stay in the suburbs they are familiar with.

At a near-polar opposite, we can say that the developing areas around Hamlyn Terrace, Woongarrah and Wadalba are seeing a lot of new faces coming into the area. From the sale contracts seen in our daily valuer lives, an overwhelming number of new residents looking to call the Central Coast home is from Sydney. It’s not hard to attribute this to the prices in Sydney being the reason these people are leaving for more affordable areas. These areas are relatively new and still growing. They are identifiable by the new, project style dwellings springing up in what was once paddocks. To some, they see a lack of character with this off the shelf, tightly packed type of development. To others, it represents a new chapter in a brand new home. No right or wrong here. What is evident though is value for money compared to the Sydney market. These areas are close to good shopping, good schools and the opportunity to be part of a growing community. A huge added bonus is the close proximity to the M1 Motorway and easy access to Sydney for work. There are many buys available for under the $600,000 mark.

Next Level Buyers

Middle and upper-tier buyers are everywhere. These are more often second and subsequent home buyers with more to spend, more real estate experience and more life experience.

Some still choose to move but stay in the suburb they are familiar with, while others decide the better reputation suburb next door or a couple of suburbs away beckons. This is seen almost daily as levels of sophistication grow, downsizing is decided or cash injection from the sale of an existing property means a step up the real estate ladder is available.

While by no means typical, we usually see these buyers opting for an established, well-appointed, landscaped property which is close to shops and cafes – the Terrigal, East Gosford and Blue Bay café scenes are popular. But most often, we see an entertaining area and views. In this regard, Terrigal, Avoca Beach, Toowoon Bay and some of the less expensive beachfront locations are popular. We put these people as looking in the $800,000 plus markets, but more likely in the $1.2 million market. The make-up of these buyers, as we see it, is generally locals but with a smattering of Sydneysiders moving to the region after selling up.

Prestige Market

By far, the beachfront and rural residential areas dominate the prestige end of the market. We classify the price point for this segment to be above the $3 million mark for beach fronts and above the $2 million mark in the rural residential areas at the southern end of the region and slightly less as we move to the northern end.

What drives these markets is mixed. In some cases, it is refinement and quality while elsewhere it is more bling and quantity. In some cases, privacy and quietness rule while some need to be seen and heard. The requirements of buyers are as varied as the properties themselves with some buyers content with the nostalgic beach shack in near original condition to others who would not dream of settling for anything less than modern and substantial. What doesn’t change though is the preparedness of buyers to wait for the right opportunity – rushing in or compulsive buying is sometimes seen, but rarely. The prestige property buyer is usually experienced, confident and determined.

The prestige beach fronts are found at Pearl Beach, MacMasters Beach, Avoca Beach, Wamberal, Blue Bay and Toowoon Bay. Expect to part with upwards of $3.5 million in these locations. At slightly lower, but less prestige are the beach fronts at Copacabana, Forresters Beach, The Entrance North and Noraville.

When speaking of high end rural residential property, the areas that come to mind would include Matcham, Holgate, Somersby and Wamberal at the southern end and Glenning Valley, Jilliby, Wyong Creek, Yarramalong and Dooralong to the north.

Prices vary considerably but seldom do we see values below $1 million. Little separates the land quality component between the suburbs with the main price determinant being the size and quality of the dwelling and ground improvements.

Matcham holds the highest value base, due largely to the standard of development and close proximity to local business centres, schools, shopping and beaches. Prices can start around the $1.5 million mark but quickly rise depending on the standard of the property, with $3 million plus sales being reasonably common. The beautiful Yarramalong and Dooralong Valleys hold some very notable properties, with $2 million plus sales seen and considered to represent good value.

Mid North Coast Property Updates

Port Macquarie, being a large beachside town, has always been popular with prospective purchasers, whether first home buyers, mum and dad upgraders or local or Sydney investors. Port Macquarie is a major regional centre located on the banks of the Hastings River and bounded east by the Pacific Ocean. Its unique location gives residents the opportunity to be near the water’s edge. The area has always been popular with retirees and families who want to relocate away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life.

Port Macquarie offers various types of residential dwellings with the most popular having ocean views. These can be units or dwellings and ideally located within a short driving distance of the CBD.

With busy lives and families, homeowners migrating for a sea change are looking for residential dwellings with low maintenance, near new or completely renovated and close to local shops, schools and employment. Many people are opting for the less expensive options within the rapidly developing Thrumster area, located on the western fringe of Port Macquarie and only ten minutes travel into the CBD via the Oxley Highway.

The market for the first home buyer has various types of dwellings within its price range, from older two-bedroom units through to smaller older-style residential dwellings and new type villas and residential dwellings in the Thrumster precinct. Thrumster is proving to be popular, already having an established local high school, pre-school and IGA supermarket under construction.

Upgraders generally require dwellings consisting of three to four bedrooms on a good size block, more centrally located close to schools, town and other facilities. Other upgraders are chasing the new house feel again in the Crestwood, Thrumster or Lake Cathie subdivisions.

It is interesting to note that interest rates have been reduced by the Reserve Bank to one per cent within the past week to boost the weakening jobs market and economic growth. We have been told by various agents on the Mid North Coast that since the election results, whilst housing prices remain stable, more buyer enquiry and limited available stock is giving an indication that house prices may start to incline again and those sought-after desirable elements that purchasers are seeking may become out of reach.

Albury Property Updates

The property fundamental that all buyers consider is location. The value of land is assessed most heavily on this attribute. Unlike many desirable metropolitan areas, regional areas often have an abundance of land supply with a choice of locations appealing to different buyer profiles. The rule of thumb that proximity to retail, education, medical or lifestyle choices rings true in Albury to a point.

Living in a regional city means that everything is close, there is next to NO traffic congestion, very little parking stress and in the case of our border town, unfettered access to wineries, rivers, mountains (with snow) and valleys with even less people! Employment and education are the challenges in regional areas. Albury is well placed for both and combined with housing affordability, it is not surprising that our region is a great place to live.

The first home buyer is well catered for in the Albury area, although it is hard to strike a balance between all of the above attributes. The newest and largest new home estates are located in Thurgoona. This is a large suburb nine kilometres north-east of central Albury with several entry-level builders and estates, some better located than others. The circa 2010 to now brick veneer, four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car price range is $350,000 to $400,000 with some low $300,000 opportunities as well. The circa 1990 to 2009 stock which has a larger proportion of brick veneer three-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car price range is $250,000 to $300,000. Many of the older estates are closer to Thurgoona Plaza and Thurgoona Primary School.

There are two estates (Mitchell Park and Somerset Rise) located nearest to the Hume Freeway for the quickest route to Albury city centre and very close proximity to popular private schools Trinity Grammar and Border Christian College and with a new childcare centre recently opened, education is front of mind for buyers here. Other first home buyer estates which are further out are Yarrabee Estate and Kerr Estate – good entry-level homes, closer to Lake Hume but still lacking proximity to local schools and shops.

Small pockets of Lavington (four kilometres north of the CBD) and Springdale Heights (six kilometres north of the CBD) offer a new home alternative to Thurgoona. These new estates are located near some less desirable existing housing stock, but are close to local public primary and high schools and not too far to Lavington Square Shopping Complex. The price range for a modern four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car garage can be as low as $300,000 to $350,000 however this range also provides good value in established areas for homes circa 1980 to mid-2000s. There is still a robust sub-$300,000 in Lavington and North Albury. The first home buyer close to the Albury CBD will swap new for old housing stock whilst increasing capital growth opportunities in these gentrifying areas.

The upgrading buyer can easily be enticed to remain in Thurgoona with new estates aimed very clearly at this market segment. Estates include Brookfield Mews, Kerrford Park Estate, Fairway Gardens and The Elms Estate. The four-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car garage or four-bedroom, three-bathroom, three-car garage here has a wider price range from $400,000 to $600,000. Apart from demanding a larger home and land area, this market segment often chooses the location with lifestyle (such as golf, water skiing and cycling), quality of surrounding homes, local views and room for extras such as a pool, shed and larger backyard in mind. Competing with Thurgoona for this market are new estates in Ettamogah Rise, Springdale Heights, Sienna Ridge and Hamilton Valley in addition to established stock in East and West Albury and the central Albury fringe. Apart from the older stock in close proximity to the CBD, what all the new home upgrading estates have in common are larger blocks and big houses, not really close to everything but show off mode definitely in play and a risk of over capitalising if the forever home plan comes unstuck.

The prestige buyer in Albury is spoilt for choice. In addition to the CBD area, we have a number of small prestige estates (Doctor’s Point and Rainbow Ridge, both in East Albury) or established areas (Thurgoona Park, elevated pockets of West Albury, Monument Hill and Forrest Hill) catering for the discerning top-end buyer, and if the buyer has money to burn, central Albury offers an array of character and modern dwellings with all the trimmings. The price range for prestige dwellings is $600,000 to $1.2 million. The prestige rural lifestyle property comes into play in this market as well with a price range more likely $700,000 to $1.3 million, especially in Table Top and Splitters Creek. This market segment has less stock and activity and usually falls into two buyer profiles – the local pool of prestige buyers and the out of town buyers, often astounded at the number of wishlist items achievable.

Wodonga Property Updates

Purchasers in each market segment of the Wodonga market – first home buyers, upgrading or second or third home buyers and prestige – tend to seek a number of characteristics which are likely to result in long term growth and future buyer demand.

This is an easy decision for the first home buyer. The Daintree Estate in West Wodonga is popular for a number of factors. The estate is home to Victory Lutheran College which caters for primary and secondary school students, The Daintree Medical Centre and a new child care centre. Within close proximity is the Wodonga Golf Course and the Birallee Shopping Centre is within five kilometres of the estate. Dwellings in this estate have been built from 2009 onwards, are generally three or four bedroom, of brick veneer construction and generally sell from $330,000 to $380,000 depending on size and quality. Land within the estate is flat, generally between 500 and 800 square metres and priced anywhere between $135,000 and $155,000.

Generally, the most popular choice in the upgrader or second home buyer market segment with the above characteristics in mind is the Whitebox Rise Estate. This estate has the Whitebox Rise Shopping Centre which includes Woolworths, BWS, the Reject Shop, a bakery, bank and Chemist Warehouse. The estate also includes an Aldi, car wash and aquatic centre. Dwellings are generally three or four bedrooms of brick veneer construction and are of a good quality fit-out. Dwelling prices within this segment generally range from $390,000 to $490,000. Land in this estate is flat, having been terrace and retained by the developer. Land prices within this market segment generally range from $155,000 to $175,000 depending on the orientation and aspect of the allotment.

There are a number of estates which are popular with prestige property purchasers, however the motives of purchasers within this segment tend to vary slightly in importance. While long term growth and future buyer demand play a role in the purchasing decision, they tend to be secondary considerations. The purchasing decision is primarily driven by the suitability of the property to adequately cater to their lifestyle. However, popular estates include Wattle Glen Estate, located within two kilometres of the Whitebox Rise Shopping Centre and about five kilometres from the Wodonga CBD. The estate is generally characterised by large steep allotments with elevated and rangeside views. Land prices have generally ranged from $150,000 to $190,000. Dwellings within this segment are large and have a high-quality fit-out, generally ranging from $550,000 to $850,000, however there are newly constructed properties likely to attract even higher values. Another prestige estate is the newly developed Huon Park Estate, which is located on the south-western fringe of Wodonga. Lots generally range from between 2,000 and 4,000 square metres at prices ranging from between $275,000 and $315,000. Once again, dwellings are large, high quality and enjoy a rural and range side outlook.

Tamworth Property Updates

The fundamentals of attraction differ greatly depending on which end of the market a buyer is looking at and at what point in the property journey they are.

Starting at the beginning with first homeowners, Tamworth sees these buyers typically in the more affordable areas of Hillvue, South Tamworth, Central West Tamworth, Oxley Vale and parts of Calala. They are chasing properties that are comfortably habitable as is, but with a little bit of renovation can easily add some value without breaking the bank. Location to particular areas is not a requirement but there is a definite aversion to the western parts of South Tamworth and Hillvue. To meet the criteria, we are seeing three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwellings on approximately 600 to 800 square metre block ticking all the boxes. For a dwelling like this and in a nice part of the mentioned suburbs, a buyer is looking to spend $225,000 to $350,000. Recent sales include:

1 Robina Street, South Tamworth sold for $233,000. A circa 1960, vinyl clad, three-bedroom, one-bathroom, dwelling on an 809 square metre lot. Basic updates to the interior.

72 Panorama Road, Calala sold for $320,000. A circa 1990, brick veneer, three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling on a 790 square metre lot. Original fit-out.

Now that we have owned our first home for a few years, it is time to upgrade. In this price bracket ($350,000 to $650,000) we open up a wide range of choices. Typically, upgraders want to be closer to the CBD (North and East Tamworth) or getting into a newer home (Calala, Moore Creek and North Tamworth). When moving closer to the CBD, a buyer wants to be able to walk down to Peel Street within 15 minutes to enjoy the shopping and cafes offered. If looking for a newer home, a buyer will want at least a four-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling with a double garage and covered outdoor area. In both cases, land size plays a role with many upgraders being families and requiring room to move and grow. Land sizes available in this price bracket range from 600 square metres all the way to 4,000 square metres depending on where you buy. The further out, the newer the house and larger the lot. Recent sales include:

121 Brisbane Street, East Tamworth sold for $520,000. A circa 1920 double brick four-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling on a 582 square metre lot. The property is located just 430 metres from Peel Street.

2D Thornbill Road, Moore Creek sold for $590,000. A circa 2015 brick veneer dwelling with four bedrooms, two bathrooms on a 4002 square metre lot.

With Tamworth being so relatively easy to get around (20 minutes from one end to the other) there are no real hotspots for must-have locations, other than that of being able to easily walk into town from East Tamworth. Easy access to parks and schools is available in all suburbs and with so much variety available for buyers, it really does come down to their needs and wants that will determine where they end up.

Goulburn Property Updates

With a median house value of $410,000, the Goulburn Mulwaree region is continuing to appeal to both first home buyers and young families. The charming heritage homes which boast character with their ornamental features throughout continue to be in strong demand from the first home buyer market, in particular, older style historic homes centrally located on tree-lined streets and within close proximity to schools, parks and the CBD. The newly built, low maintenance dwellings within the new estates are typically more popular amongst the young family and older generation markets. Despite being located further from the CBD, these developments offer an affordable lifestyle alternative within commuting distance to Canberra and the Southern Highlands and require far less ongoing works in comparison to older heritage style properties. With land values considered cheap in comparison to areas such as Canberra and the Southern Highlands, larger parcels in the new subdivisions are considered good value for money, allowing homeowners a bit of elbow room for a larger house, a shed and a bigger back yard. Think Sanctuary Drive, Ibis Road and Anembo Close.

Southern Highlands Property Updates

As we set off on the 2020 financial year, the main property driver for the Southern Highlands remains front and centre, proximity to Sydney. The advent of freeway infrastructure beginning with the opening of the M5 in the 1990s and its subsequent extension together with somewhat improved rail infrastructure has brought the commute time to the Highlands closer to Sydney. This, combined with the NSW Government recognizing and prioritising land release areas across the region, is seeing the fabric of the Highlands gradually changing and providing real lifestyle opportunities to the Sydney market, particularly families and recent retirees. The challenge as always will be getting the balance right in providing the social infrastructure to cope with resident growth.

At an entry-level price point of just shy of $600,000, prices have eased around five per cent year-on-year. Younger families are the predominant buyer group in the northern villages of the Southern Highlands such as Hill Top and Colo Vale. Proximity to the freeway and price point are driving the purchase decision here. Typical homes are late 1960s and early 1970s built dwellings on smaller blocks of land.

The middle market is dominated particularly by families and retirees in the $900,000 to $1.5 million price point who continue to discover the Southern Highlands region as an affordable lifestyle alternative to an increasingly congested urban existence. At this level, buyers can expect an early 1990s three to four-bedroom to modern four to five-bedroom family home close to the townships of Bowral, Mittagong and Moss Vale. The driver here for families is access to social infrastructure, schools and good transport such as rail and bus links. The median price has come off around five per cent year on year.

The prestige market across the Southern Highlands is defined at a price point in excess of $3 million. The choice of property types includes prestige residential located in the main townships of Bowral, Moss Vale and Mittagong, predominantly on a land sized between 4,000 to 10,000 square metres. Another sector of the prestige market is the rural lifestyle, Acreage properties defined as land sized between 10 and 50 hectares and located on the outskirts of the main townships across the villages and hamlets of Berrima, Sutton Forest, Exeter and Robertson. Historically purchasers of these property types have been Sydney based, with purchasers having sold out of that market and looking for a lifestyle change or as a weekender. This market historically has shown high levels of volatility, linked to the vagaries of the financial markets together with the Sydney property market. This has certainly been the case over the current period, with several examples re-trading from purchases two years ago at a 10 to 20 per cent price reduction. It is not uncommon for extended marketing periods and multiple agent marketing campaigns of up to two years observed for a property at the higher price point, with vendors willing to wait for the right purchaser and likewise purchasers tending to be highly discriminating in their purchasing decisions.

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