The Bellingen Shire Market Report by Nathan Cardow

Welcome to our monthly Real Estate Report for March 2021

Well, I guess one thing we are all getting used to is planning for the unexpected. Even more, rain has created another challenge for our community, as once again our focus moves away from our businesses to making sure everyone is safe until the waters subside. As at the time of writing this article our little Valley was faring better than most other areas along the NSW East Coast. However property-wise, I feel the miserable weather will do little to slow the incredible momentum sweeping Australia’s housing market.

The Real Estate boom continues. Any new listings coming onto the market are still proving to be a hot commodity. I know for our office there has still been incredible enquiry and buyer competition for new property, so any sellers out there be sure your agent carries out a polished and wide-reaching marketing plan. It’s kind of like taking out insurance, don’t try and save a few grand because in this market it may cost you big time in the end sale result.

It appears as though rental prices for rental homes has now followed the sale prices, with rising rents that have been caused by competition for housing. Often these 2 are linked. I know there has always been a bit of an unspoken rule of ‘drop the zero’s’, where for example a house for $500k should rent for $500pw. This of course is very general and will depend on the property type and its location. I guess you couldn’t use this theory on the worst house in the best street for example. Often in a housing boom, this becomes quite distorted early on in the price rise, however after some time the rentals seem to always gradually catch up, as it is doing now.

As Australians, we really do focus immensely on how and where we live. We are house proud, not only in terms of the type of home we live in but also its location. Over the years it has been interesting for me to see the different cycles that happen and how market forces and buyers wants and needs change over time. For example, back in the early 2000s, it was all about the acreage. Any small to medium acreage property was the ‘flavour of the month’ and the best listings for agents to grab. While residential was seen as less desirable. From 2007 onwards, the reverse happened, in response to talk about our ageing population and retirees downsizing to convenient CBD locations close to facilities. As agents, we noticed the distinct lack of demand for acreage at this time, and the focus from buyers more so on residential. Whereas in this current cycle everything is hot- residential, commercial and rural. I think you could nearly auction a tent at the moment!

One thing a lot of readers out there may not realise is just how much has changed in the areas of promotion and technology. I know for myself I have seen quite a bit. Back around 1990 whilst still at school, I used to help out during school holidays, maybe not always willingly, in my father’s Real Estate office in Urunga. Back then we had no computers. We would hand write rental payments and ‘paid to’ dates on a cardboard sleeve.  That was how we used to do business. Even sales methods were just as basic. We would take our own photos and have them developed and our only form of advertising was for sale signage, our window and newspaper. On top of these promotional activities now agencies have the responsibility of numerous websites, social media promotion, property videos and drone photography, just to name a few. Any agencies that fail to move forward get left behind, quickly. So when dealing with an agency, make sure they are up to date and giving you the benefit of professional promotion across all available mediums. Nowadays it really is sink or swim for a business. And in this market, there is a lot of money at stake for any would-be sellers/clients of an agency.

One point I’d like to make mention of and one we get quite a few buyers and sellers ask about is ‘off-market sales’. This is where we list a new property and sell it before it has even been advertised. When selling your home be sure to have this conversation with your agent and work out the method that will work the best for your situation. Agents are legally required to work for a seller, so at all times they must ensure they do the very best for the seller. As I keep banging on about at the moment, with prices rising rapidly and sale prices almost always exceeding expectations, (sometimes by a lot), sellers really are advantaged by getting as many buyers through as possible and allowing buyer competition to determine current market value. As a seller though, the decision is always left with you and should you wish to sell off-market for a price you are happy with then that is entirely your decision.

For anyone out there chasing some statistics, according to’s latest reports Bellingen’s median house price is sitting on around $653k, and median rental price of $440pw. Quite high yes, but thankfully still affordable when compared to a lot of other areas out there. And I feel cheap when you look at the location and lifestyle we have here.

As international borders start to open up, how will housing prices be affected?  The latest report I got my hands on indicated that it could put further upward pressure on prices, and they felt it should be done gradually to avoid overheating the market even further. Who knows, only time will tell. On reading CoreLogics latest property report Nationally, Preliminary Auction clearance rates for capital cities for the week leading up to the 21st of March was an astonishing 82%. And what makes that figure even more amazing, being that week had the most homes put to auction in the last 12 months. So even a good supply of listings isn’t meeting demand, crazy!

Until next month stay safe and be thankful for where you live. Should there be any real estate queries or assistance you may require, feel free to give one of our friendly helpful staff a call on 02 6655 1049.

By Nathan Cardow of Cardow and Partners Property Bellingen