It’s rivers of gold for Northern NSW real estate

Media release - 2nd November, 2015 

  • Three bedroom townhouses in Byron Bay are worth an extra $100,000 than at the beginning of 2015
  • Ocean Shores, where three bedroom houses and townhouses are selling for between $450,000 and $675,000, also represents good value
  • Investors represent 50% of buyers in Yamba

Real estate markets in NSW’s Northern Rivers, in the state’s far north, are enjoying a late year surge thanks to a combination of the region’s great lifestyle, property affordability, strong investment yields and low interest rates, according to Superbrand Raine & Horne.

“People living in the Northern Rivers have an outstanding quality of life thanks to the region’s magnificent coastline and waterways, which also attract plenty of tourist dollars and jobs to towns such as Byron Bay and Yamba,” said Steve Worrad, General Manager, Raine & Horne Queensland.

“Tourism is a key regional employer, providing approximately 6,500 jobs annually and residents have access to excellent tertiary educational facilities such as Southern Cross University and six local TAFE campuses. 

“A robust agricultural sector, and a growing service sector, offer employment opportunities which will underpin the region’s bricks and mortar sector long-term.”

In Byron Bay, sales listings are short on the ground while demand from sea changers and investors is still relatively strong, according to Sophie Christou, Principal of Raine & Horne Byron Bay.

“About 50% of buyers are interstate investors and sea changers from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with the remainder being local upgraders, downsizers and investors,” said Ms Christou.

“Almost 50% of interstate investors hail from Sydney and sub-$1 million properties represent the sweet spot for investors and sea changers buying in our region.”

Ms Christou said $1 million buys an older-style three bedroom house away from the beach.

“As a consequence, some budget conscious buyers are looking north to Ocean Shores where three bedroom houses and townhouses are selling for between $450,000 and $675,000 if they have some sea views.”

“Anything under $750,000 in Byron Bay is extremely rare and is being snapped up fast and at a considerable premium to the values recorded at the beginning of 2015,” according to Ms Christou.

“Earlier this year we were selling three bedroom townhouses for $640,000. These are now fetching closer to the mid $700,000s thanks to investor and sea changer demand,” she said.

Ms Christou believes that Byron Bay’s improving infrastructure is catching the eye of investors and sea changers.

“There’s more to Byron Bay than expansive beaches, with local roads and retail infrastructure very much improving thanks to the foresight of the Byron Shire Council,” she said.

For example, the old cinema at 108-110 Jonson Street, Byron Bay is making way for a state-of-the- art ‘Mercato on Byron’ retail and entertainment precinct, which will have Woolworths as its foundation tenant along with the Palace Cinema, and 30 specialty shops and eateries.

“Mercato is an amazing 6-star green-designed building that will deliver much needed infrastructure and retail services while embracing the unique look and feel of the local community,” said Ms Christou.

Further south to the popular holiday hamlet of Yamba, and investors are leading the charge for local real estate, according to Denise Jillett, Licensee, Raine & Horne Yamba.

“The trouble is that we have plenty of investors but not enough listings,” said Ms Jillett.

“Large numbers of investors are buying in our region thanks to a combination of good value on offer, low interest rates, increased returns on investment and higher demand for rental properties coming as a result of the Pacific Highway upgrade works taking place in our region.”

The median house price in Yamba is $412,500, while the median weekly rent is $340. Apartment yields are stronger at almost 5% gross. This is based on a median price of $300,000 for a two bedroom unit in Yamba, with a weekly rent of $290.

“Around 50% of buyers are investors, which is a first in a long while. Previously owner-occupiers dominated the Yamba market,” said Ms Jillett.


For further media information contact:

Steve Worrad, General Manager, Raine & Horne Queensland, on 0498 071 991

Andrew Harrington, National Communications Manager, Raine & Horne, on 02 9258 5400