The Bellingen Shire Market Report by Nathan Cardow

Welcome to our monthly Real Estate Report for June 2021.

A wave of new COVID infections and back into lockdown we go! On speaking to people in the community this time the process seems so much easier, as we all now seem to become used to our ‘new normal’ way of life. If someone had told me 5 or 10 years ago that in 2021 everyone in the Bellingen Shire would be walking around town wearing face masks due to a pandemic, I would have told them they are completely nuts! To take a benefit out of the situation though, even a lockdown here is a nice way of life compared to what most others have around the planet.

Locally the property market is still running red hot. Houses, farms, units, commercial premises, prestige holdings through to vacant land and shacks- it’s all in high demand. Listings are still in chronic shortage, with only a lucky few buyers being fortunate enough to find what they need in our area. With such a short supply and buyer competition for property, prices still seem to be on their upward trajectory.

On reading the latest Housing Matters article posted last week in our ilovebelloshire newsletter, there seems to be light at the end of the Tunnel. To quote the article, ‘The Community Hosting Program will match people in precarious housing who have strong ties to the Bellingen Shire with homeowners with spare rooms. This could also help homeowners who could use some extra income, help around the house or who would welcome some company. There is a bit more involved to it, but in my opinion, this idea is brilliant. Adequately use a resource that is readily available immediately, which will benefit both the tenant and owner. Well done guys!

Be it affordable housing, housing for your ‘average family’, farms or luxury estates, whatever the use it all adds population to our valley. Not only directly, but visitors of family and friends as well. In turn, this population growth requires extra medical facilities, extra shopping facilities, extra childcare, extra schooling, extra recreational areas, better roads, extra car parking! The list goes on. I am sure in planning for the future our Councils Growth Management Strategy would attempt to address these community expectations and needs, which as the population grows will only ever increase. Then there is also the lifestyle and environmental considerations that an increased population would bring. On one hand, at times it can bring more prosperity to people in certain fields of employment, on the other it can bring with it that busy lifestyle most people that live here want to avoid! I guess the last thing we all want is Bellingen and the environment of our beautiful shire to be put under too much pressure where it gets ‘Loved to Death’.

On a commercial/industrial front this section of the market, both locally and nationally, seems to be buoyed by low-interest rates and a volatile stock market. I guess for example anyone with a million dollars to invest can leave it in the bank for a miserable return, take a punt on the stock market, or park it in what has been historically relatively safe commercial/industrial holdings. In the past 25 years or so the data I have researched has shown investors appear to expect a ‘Net Yield’ or return of say 2 or 3% above bank interest for any well located, well maintained and securely tenanted premises. On looking at recent sales in our area, plus a report from a major national commercial agency, it appears as though most recent sales have gone through in that 4 to 5% Net Yield range. So currently, this sector seems to be fairly well balanced and where I would expect it to be.

Nationally the latest reports from both Corelogic RP data and seem to be singing to the same tune, that Australian dwelling prices finished the financial year 16.5% higher. However, a loss of momentum is clear. CoreLogic Head of Research for Australia, Eliza Owen noted “This is the highest annual rate of growth seen across the Australian residential property market since April 2004, when the early 2000’s housing boom was winding down after a period of exceptional growth. However, there are some markets where performance is starting to ease more notably.”

As we all know each housing market throughout Australia will perform a little different, and a lot of the reports I have read has been centred more around the Sydney housing market. No doubt any slowing of the market will feed through to us eventually to a point, however, our current lack of housing supply will no doubt buoy prices.

So there you go, that wraps up another month. 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 our friendly, helpful staff a call on 02 6655 1049.