By Herron Todd White
July 2019

Lismore Property Updates

In the Lismore local government area, a lazy half a million provides the buyer with a multitude of choices to own a better than average four-bedroom, modern dwelling on flood free land, with a good chance of getting better than average views thrown in.

30 James Road, Goonellabah is a well built, 2002 four-bedroom, three-bathroom, two level modern dwelling that sold very recently for $500,000 (source: HTW). The sweetener to this property is that with the addition of one door to the lower level, it would be possible to sublet the lower level to generate a rental income for the owner of up to $200 per week.

A new four-bedroom, two-bathroom house and land package in Goonellabah can be purchased for between $450,000 and $500,000. These dwellings are not located within the mainstream capital growth areas of the region but do provide a brand-new dwelling with the associated solid rents and full tax depreciation benefits. They are flood free with modern underground infrastructure and convenience and major shopping, medical and schooling within a five-minute drive. These properties are well suited to the modern family that needs convenience in their busy lifestyles.

Vacant land within the established and new estate areas in the Lismore suburbs can still be found below $200,000. Standard sized allotments in the modern estates within the suburban areas of Lismore are priced at between $185,000 and up to well over $250,000.

Lot 2/41 Phillip Street, Goonellabah sold very recently with a three-bay shed and full boundary fencing on a 973 square metre allotment for $152,000. For the lazy $500,000, that leaves nearly $350,000 to build your dream home and plenty of land to do so.

Within the unit market, $500,000 will upsize your property portfolio by two should you wish to buy two two-bedrooms units and use the full allocation, with a number of semi-modern two and three-bedroom units and townhouses listed for sale in East Lismore and Goonellabah for between $210,000 and $265,000.

22/2 Taylor Avenue, Goonellabah is offered for sale for $265,000. The property has three bedrooms, one bathroom and a single car garage and is within minutes of shopping centres, sporting fields, schools, university, hospitals and the aquatic centre. Rental achievable for this type of property is $300 to $350 per week depending on condition, reflecting a yield of 5.8 to 6.8 per cent gross yield.

With the federal election in the rear-view mirror we expect that the housing market in the Lismore area will continue to be steady and stable with business as usual outlook. Major growth has already happened in this region in recent years and unless there are significant economic incentive schemes initiated or major job creation projects announced, it is expected that the market will continue to be steady as it goes.

Speak with a Lismore Harbour Mortgage Broker today.

Casino/Kyogle Property Updates

Whilst the market activity over the course of the first six months of 2019 has softened somewhat, little has changed from the previous year in terms of what one can score with a lazy half a million. In other words, in some places, that $500,000 would get you less whereas in some places, you could get more for your money.

However, the mix of product may have remained relatively similar, particularly in the more regional areas within the Richmond Valley and Kyogle Council areas.

Still, in the more remote areas, we have noted a distinct fall in some market sectors. For example;

  • $50,000 to $75,000 per steep timber vacant 40 hectare bush blocks in the rural localities of Drake and Tabulam; or
  • $120,000 to $125,000 standard vacant residential blocks in Casino and Kyogle. Relatively flat but may ask slightly more than $125,000 individually, so a package deal of say four at the nice round figure of $120,000 each would be hard for a vendor to pass up in the current market.

There are not too many residential properties within Casino or Kyogle that would use up the whole $500,000 in one transaction apart from the sought-after areas of Gays Hill (Casino) or the newer residential estate in Kyogle and possibly within the satellite suburb of Geneva.

Such properties usually deliver the full quota of features such as air-conditioning, good quality appointments, pool, established landscaping and larger site area.

For those inclined towards a more rural residential setting, there are opportunities to use a substantial part of the $500,000 gift to acquire an established modern four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with double garage in close proximity to the town centres of Casino or Kyogle. Typically, such properties would comprise lots ranging in size from 4,000 square metres to five hectares.

Semi-remote rural localities with properties on lots from 40 hectares to even 100 hectares purchased under $500,000 are still available and provide semi-modern homes with established ancillary improvements. However, distance and maintenance of the land are factors that any potential purchaser must consider.

At present, even with the record low interest rate levels now even lower compared to last year, the future of any significant price improvement is not generally clear or warranted as there is still the overriding climate of people expressing that old age concern of ”is my job secure?

Ballina /Byron Bay Property Updates

Value levels at or around the $500,000 mark have been relatively stable over the past 12 months. $500,000 would get you a basic two-bedroom unit within Lennox Head, whilst in Ballina $500,000 would get you a reasonable three-bedroom villa or townhouse or a basic but neat and tidy threebedroom dwelling. Further west in Alstonville or Wollongbar, $500,000 would get you a neat and tidy circa 1990s three-to-four-bedroom dwelling.

In Byron Bay, $500,000 would only allow you to purchase a basic one to two-bedroom townhouse or villa located west of the city centre.

$500,000 in Lennox Head would buy you a basic unit within reasonably close proximity of the Lennox Head shopping precinct and beaches.

In truth, potential purchasers looking to buy into the Byron Bay or Lennox Head market will almost need a lazy $750,000 at a minimum for a solid investment opportunity.

Ocean Shores however would present an easier opportunity to spend a lazy half million in a dated two to three-bedroom townhouse villa option. Three-bedroom houses can be purchased at around the $600,000 mark.

As the market has continued to firm over the past 12 months, these opportunities, even within the locality of Ocean Shores, have become harder to find. The prediction from last year’s lazy half million edition remains true, as the market in the Byron Shire is almost void of the $500,000 price bracket and has spread to localities in recent times considered secondary. It should be considered, however, that the unit market in Ocean Shores would be all on offer for a lazy half a million dollars. This suburb provides a great locality to major service centres such as the Gold Coast airport and major shopping facilities.

Clarence Valley Property Updates

Within the Clarence Valley, there remain ample investment opportunities for under $500,000 across a plethora of property types. Median prices in localities such as Maclean and Grafton sit well below, while Yamba and beachside localities record medians closer to half a million dollars. As in most property markets, the lower end receives the most interest while the more prestige style properties over $500,000 have been recording slightly slower selling periods of around three to six months, which is still a healthy marketing period.

Across the Clarence Valley, there remain numerous detached dwellings, units and even some acreage and rural residential properties for sale at affordable sub-$500,000 prices. Over the past 12 months, this market has performed in line with our predictions and is likely to continue at this level until the infrastructure upgrade workforce shifts. Despite the initial attention associated with local infrastructure improvements slightly subsiding as the Pacific Highway and Harwood Bridge upgrades near completion, it continues to be a prime time to capitalise on rental returns whilst keeping in mind the opportunity for capital gains in the long term.

Coffs Harbour Property Updates

Not much has changed from last year within the lazy half million price bracket. Yes, the market has cooled its jets with the pendulum swinging toward buyers after being firmly in the seller’s court over recent years. This swing has seen all the pressure on the prestige or higher end market of $900,000 plus whilst the $500,000 market continues to remain stable.

Looking at the median house prices (sourced from realestate.com.au) for different suburbs illustrates this point. Coffs Harbour sits at $505,000 with a rental value of $440 per week, Boambee East $479,000 and $420 per week, Toormina $459,000 and $420 per week.

These areas are your meat and potatoes with regard to suburban locations well located to all services and as always, nowhere is too far from the beach. You would expect to buy a 20 to 40-year-old three or four-bedroom, two-bathroom home with varying car accommodation on a 500 to 1,000 square metre site for your $500,000 and for the investors, returning around four to five per cent.

Moving further afield to the northern beaches and Woolgoolga we see these values rise somewhat which is due to the limited supply and influence of rural residential markets.

The most affordable for your $500,000 is Sandy Beach which has seen a resurgence in recent years, having a median house price of $475,000 and rental of $430 per week. Well located to Woolgoolga, the new estates west of the highway have become very popular with owner-occupiers and investors. Land prices around the $250,000 mark and build costs starting from $280,000 see new product hitting the low $500,000s. Woolgoolga tips the median house price at $520,000, however, it’s hard to find a home in central Woolgoolga for this price, more your good quality unit at this level. West of the old Pacific Highway will put you into a 20 to 40- year old brick and tile home.

If you are looking for more bang for your $500,000 buck then you will have to travel further afield to the smaller coastal towns such as Nambucca Heads. Here, the median price falls to $395,000 with rental of $350 per week. At $500,000, you are expecting a lot more home or good location closer to the beach, although I would not suggest this is a good option for investors as rentals are on the lower side with better options for returns.

If you are looking at the rural residential market, $500,000 will not buy you much other than a block of land with a shed in the greater Coffs Harbour area. You have to travel 45 minutes in any direction before you hit the affordable rural market which appeals to lifestyle buyers rather than investors.

There is plenty of diversity on offer within the region for $500,000 which is why we are experiencing continual population growth as the affordability factor and lifestyle opportunities sometimes seem too good to be true.

Speak with a Coffs Harbour Mortgage Broker today.

Tamworth Property Updates

$500,000…. the lazy half million. With this level of buy-in in the Tamworth market, a prospective buyer has available a large range of potential purchases all with solid growth and a good outlook for the future.

Beginning with new builds, $500,000 allows buyers to either purchase a newly constructed home or build their own, with 180-plus square metres of living and the standard double garage and alfresco. These dwellings are normally located on 700 to 1,500 square metre lots within the suburbs of Calala, North Tamworth, Moore Creek and Hillvue. With some of the newer subdivisions now a few years old, there are starting to be several resales which are showing strong sale prices as people are opting to purchase newer houses with all of the landscaping and site works complete, over building their own.

Now if suburbia is not your thing, the next place to look is the rural-residential market. Over recent years we have seen an increase in values in the smaller rural residential market (one to ten hectares), however, $500,000 still gets you a reasonable home on acreage. Within this price bracket, buyers are looking at places around Daruka, Moore Creek and Hallsville. Typically you will get a two to a six-hectare site with a circa 1980s to 2000s dwelling in original, but good condition. Recently, 20 Cypress Pine Lane, Daruka sold for $521,500 and consists of a circa 1997, three-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling with detached workshop and granny flat sitting on 1.22 hectares. If space is what you need, then this is the market for you.

Last but not least are the character houses located in north and east Tamworth. Here, buyers are after the double brick, federation home located within close proximity of the CBD. Our budget allows buyers to pick up a two to four bedroom home with established grounds, but in need of an update, as they are typically in original or partially updated condition. Recent years have seen strong growth within this market as owneroccupiers look to upgrade and live in Tamworth’s more prestigious suburbs.

55B Napier Street, East Tamworth, recently sold for $525,000 and consists of a 1940s, three-bedroom, one-bathroom brick home with partially updated interior. While in good condition and with a new kitchen, there is certainly scope for big renovations for this property. With prices having crept up in recent years, buyers are now also opening up their options to central West Tamworth, where this year we saw a 1940s renovated four-bedroom, two-bathroom house with pool and above average ancillary improvements sell for $470,000, (43 King Street).

Now that we have covered owner-occupiers, let’s have a quick look at investors.

The humble duplex or triplex is the way to go for this price bracket. The past six months have seen a strong interest in duplexes with their high gross return of six to eight per cent which has caused an increase in sale prices for these properties. The other option is to simply buy two properties. If this was the desired option we would be looking at South Tamworth and Hillvue, where a 1960s three-bedroom dwelling can be had for as little as $220,000 all the way up to $300,000 for a fully renovated property. These locations would expect a six per cent rental yield giving a nice return on investment.

Speak with a Tamworth Mortgage Broker today.

Albury Property Updates

In the Albury area, the price point of $500,000 is a bit of a no man’s land. It is too much for most housing stock or not nearly enough for the remainder. A snapshot of this in real time is a quick search of what is for sale and what has sold at this price point.

What is currently for sale dead on this figure is really interesting and reflective of the range of choice for homeowners and investors alike in this market. There are only four properties listed at $500,000 against a backdrop of 55 properties listed in the range of $450,000 to $550,000. Similarly, in the past 12 months, two properties sold for $500,000 and 14 sold in the range of $450,000 to $600,000 (CoreLogic). The properties for sale at $500,000 comprise a circa 2000, four-bedroom plus, two-bathroom, two-car garage on an elevated 855 square metre allotment with local views in Glenroy, north-west of Albury CBD. Also in the same suburb is a circa 2011, five-bedroom, two-bathroom property with a pool on a 1,202 square allotment and the other property is a circa 2015, duplex pair, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, one-car garage, and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car garage unit at the rear, again in Glenroy. This property, appealing only to investors, has been on the market for 440 days, so it looks like you won’t need $500,000 to buy. Generally, you can invest in Albury for much less.

The properties that have sold right on the half million comprise a circa 1960, renovated three-bedroom, one-bathroom, two-car garage on an elevated 721 square metre allotment in an area called Forrest Hill, which is a sought after location just north-west of central Albury, where half a million is entry level only and in a similar location, an Art Deco, part renovated three-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car garage on an elevated 722 square metre allotment. This snapshot is very specific, but the point is that in Albury if you have $500,000 to spend, the main pressure point is located as otherwise there is a range of property types available. For much less than $500,000, a homeowner or investor can run the gamut in regard to age, style, size and ancillary improvements and once the purchase steps over the half million thresholds, probably dwelling and land size, view or location and ancillary improvements really stand out. The homeowner in this bracket is most likely an upgrader, cashed up metro tree changer or the forever home new builder. The residential investor will need more than $500,000 to enter the four-unit flats building market in a good location, however a smaller complex or one in a secondary location such as Lavington will come in well under the $500,000 mark, and in this area, purchasing two freestanding dwellings for rental with change is still possible.

In regard to the best performing properties with $500,000 burning a hole in an investor’s pocket, Albury has had a good capital growth run over the past five years, so growth-based investment requires astute decision making. It is probably continuing attractive rental returns that may drive the investment market in the short to medium term now, and the best performers here are well below $500,000. Units probably represent the best return on investment in most areas of Albury, followed by sub-$200,000 dwellings that may have subdivision or flipping potential. However, if it is a single transaction for the half million spend, it is really a long-term acquisition or investment at this level, as rental returns for large homes are weaker than more basic stock and the market looks to be levelling off for generic new homes with an oversupply predicted in Thurgoona and agents reporting investors leaving the market chasing potential capital growth in the falling markets of Sydney and Melbourne.

There has been strong growth in the rural lifestyle market in the surrounds of Albury, so $500,000 will not be enough to secure a farmlet change. Between out of town buyers and the aspirations of many locals to upgrade to the rural lifestyle choice, more funds than half a million will be required.

It is great to have a choice when assessing property investment options, whether for owner-occupiers or investors, and Albury has bucket loads of choice where purchasers should be able to work their half million hard rather than accept poor or lazy returns.

Southern Highlands

In this area, $500,000 will buy a circa 1970 to 1990 three-bedroom brick and tile in Hill Top, Colo Vale, West Moss Vale and New Berrima. Moss Vale and Colo Vale are realistically priced in the $500,000 to $600,000 bracket. New Berrima and Hill Top have some sub-$500,000 houses available too.

The best performing property at $500,000 is located in Moss Vale, due to solid infrastructure growth in the precinct and future growth appears to be on track. Colo Vale is good too with good proximity to the Hume Highway and Mittagong. It appeals to commuters with a trip to Sydney being achieved in just over one hour (depending on traffic). Another spot is New Berrima which, again, appeals to commuters and logistics workers due to excellent proximity to the Hume Highway, the Sydney CBD being 1.5 hours north and Goulburn and Canberra being one hour and 1.5 hours south respectively.

Solid investing for detached housing is in Moss Vale and Colo Vale, with 1980s to 1990s brick and tile homes in the range of $500,000 to $600,000 depending on land size and property condition. Also, look at Hill Top and New Berrima with similar 1980s to 1990s era with some older style homes generally in the $425,000 to $500,000 bracket and brand new homes starting at $600,000.

For units, there’s limited supply in Hill Top, Colo Vale and New Berrima. Moss Vale has a small supply of older style villas and townhouses. Recently we have seen villa and townhouse developments coming online as Moss Vale town centre increases in profile to be similar to Bowral and Mittagong. These new properties are appealing to the retirees market who have some available money from downsizing either locally or moving from Sydney.

This price sector performance in the short to medium term will be mixed. Hill Top has seen the most significant decline in the past 12 months but appears to be stabilizing. Colo Vale has also seen a decline over this period of time. Moss Vale and New Berrima have seen minor adjustments in comparison to the northern villages. We anticipate that in the short term, the slow sales rates will continue and overall volume will be down in the Southern Highlands, however, we believe the medium term to be positive due to the region having good proximity to Sydney and the continuing growth of Sydney’s south-west corridor bringing the Highlands closer to greater Sydney.

Buyers at this price point are mostly young families across all four suburbs. Again, due to the proximity to Sydney, we believe the medium to long term outlook for the region is positive.

In terms of rental return, a typical three-bedroom, one-bathroom brick and tile dwelling will achieve a base rental of $375 with up to $500 achievable in Moss Vale for a renovated property. We have however noticed a slight decline in rental returns over the past six to 12 months.

We noted this time last year the ramp-up of the northern villages of the Southern Highlands of Hill Top and Colo Vale. We observed isolated opportunities in this area, however, due to the recent softening residential market we have seen more opportunities sub $500,000 emerge in Hill Top. We are also seeing some entry-level homes in Colo Vale now available in the early $500,000 price bracket. This is also relevant further south in the New Berrima area with more properties becoming available in the low $500,000 bracket as the market continues to soften.

The typical housing type in this market would be single level 1970s to 1990s brick and tile residences. There are limited opportunities for villas and townhouses in these suburbs with Moss Vale being the exception and having the majority of this higher density use, due to being located in a major township which appeals to retirees and direct access to infrastructure services.

Overall, we believe the future looks positive for the Southern Highlands region given its reasonable proximity to Sydney coupled with the rapid development of Sydney’s south-west corridor and major transport infrastructure announcements including Western Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek which brings the Highlands closer to Sydney. As a direct result of this, we are seeing an influx of young families moving to the region, particularly the northern suburbs of the Southern Highlands.

So where would we suggest the best performing property is for $500,000? Colo Vale would be our pick in the northern suburbs due to proximity to the Hume Motorway and Sydney and Moss Vale in the south of the region due to established and improving retail, social and transport infrastructure within the township and again direct access both north and south to the Hume Motorway.

Southern Tablelands Property Updates

Goulburn’s current median house price is $408,500, giving buyers plenty of opportunities at the $500,000 price point. Historically, buyers can expect a circa 2000s brick veneer dwelling with four bedrooms and two bathrooms in areas such as Green Valley Road and Dimitri Street. These properties generally rent for $400 to 450 per week. This price point allows for buyers to purchase a new three-bedroom, two-bathroom detached dwelling on a much smaller allotment which typically rents for $380 to $400 per week – think McAlroy Place, Kidd Circuit and Huxtable Place. Despite being a thinly traded market at this price point, the older style double brick properties closer into town can also fetch similar money.

In our opinion, the medium and longer term prospects of Goulburn will continue to transform the region as we see a broadening purchaser catchment comprising more young families, first home buyers and investors entering the market. In turn, we feel the median house price will continue to edge towards $500,000 with more developments coming online or nearing completion such as the Teneriffe Estate and Canberra and the Southern Highlands buyer’s market seeing the market as an affordable lifestyle alternative with easy access to the Federal and Hume Highways, Canberra City and Airport.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.