Byron Bay houses now pricier than Sydney as post-Covid property boom goes regional
Australia’s post-COVID housing boom has given rise to the usual round of propadee anecdotes — dilapidated properties in good locations selling for miles above their reserve price.
But the latest market data from CoreLogic this morning confirms a unique trend compared to previous price surges; the material outperformance of regional markets, compared to capital cities.
The trend was in evidence in the data for April, which showed regional house prices rose 13pc over the year, more than double that of the major metro markets.
In further analysis of the market this morning, CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless addressed some of the factors underpinning the shift.
While the pandemic-enforced changes to lifestyles and work-from-home arrangements have played a role, Lawless also attributed the gains to “increased demand for lifestyle oriented properties and holiday homes”.
Tying into that lifestyle shift, the Richmond-Tweed region that encompasses the idyllic NSW locale of Byron Bay was the year’s best performer, chalking up annual house price gains of 21.9% for the year ended April 30.
At $1.4m, the median house price for Byron Bay is now more expensive than that of greater Sydney ($1.147m).
And with households cashed up to the tune of an extra $100bn, property buyers have also been well-placed to take advantage of cheaper regional prices.
As at the end of April, buyers could snap up regional properties at a discount of $247,400 compared to the median capital city price.
Looking ahead, Lawless said the conditions are still in place for ongoing regional price gains in the months ahead.
He flagged particular strength for regional growth corridors that still offer simple commuting options to capital cities, as well “those lifestyle markets that are popular with sea-changers and tree-changers”.
But if you were born and raised in a regional area that’s now in the sights of city dwellers with cash to splash on a new holiday home, your chances of actually buying a place in your home town have now dropped, Lawless said.
Particularly so now that regional house prices are growing much faster than regional salaries, leaving the task of financing a mortgage more difficult without an existing property footprint.
With rates expectations still anchored at zero, Lawless said Australia’s property market more broadly is still poised to climb in the months ahead.