The pandemic has rapidly accelerated the growth in house prices in regional Australia in the past year.
Nowhere more has this been evident than in Byron Bay where prices have surged 14 per cent in the last 12 months.
While Byron Bay and its surrounds has long experienced strong house price and population growth in the two decades leading up to the pandemic, a confluence of factors has made the coastal town a symbol of post-pandemic population and housing trends.
The median house value in Byron Bay is now $2.3 million and in the nearby villages, like Lennox Head, Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby and Bangalow the median has surpassed the $1 million mark.
In this TUD+ Briefing, Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee discusses the multitude of drivers propelling Byron Bay’s house prices and the inverse difficulties being created as a result across its housing market.
“The problem, and the charm, for Byron Bay is that it is low-rise and low-density,” Conisbee said.
“Because of that you can’t provide affordable housing very easily maintaining that level of low-density.
“The charm of the area is that it isn't crowded and people don’t want high-rise developments which becomes problematic to provide affordability on a mass scale to an area which is being flooded with people at a time when housing supply is fixed.”
While many regional centres across Australia have enjoyed a Covid-19 bump, as more people leave dense city centres for affordability and lifestyle, the pandemic has fast-tracked Byron’s star-studded transformation that has been under way since 2014.
In recent years, the coastal town has been thrust into the global spotlight with global influencers and celebrity neighbours such as Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon and Carrie Bickmore.
“At this stage there doesn’t seem to be anything that will stop Byron’s surging house prices,” Conisbee said.
“We still have this [demographic] shift to regional areas and strong rental demand, but, there does become a point when the infrastructure really needs to be looked at more closely.
“We are at a critical time, we can’t get key workers in, there’s not enough housing and people are getting priced out.”
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