The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay.
The stunning Clarke's Beach in Byron Bay. Contributed

Fame factor boosts property prices in Byron

BLAME the celebrities with multi-million dollar pay packets who keep moving into the area, but housing stock in Byron Bay and beyond certainly isn't getting any cheaper.

In fact, if you'd bought in the area when it was little more than a hippie enclave, you'd be feeling pretty smug about your property investment skills now.

CoreLogic RP Data's latest Market Trends report shows that over a 12-month period, house prices in Byron Bay increased an incredible 39.5% to a median price of $1.5 million with units increasing 33.1% to $792,500. Excuse me, but is that Chris Hemsworth or Simon Baker at the next restaurant table?

Of course, Byron wasn't alone in pushing property growth in the idyllic Northern Rivers area. Homes in Ballina enjoyed a healthy growth of 10.7% to take the median price to $492,500 and units showed a 10.1% growth to hit $380,000.

Most surprisingly, a unit in West Ballina will now cost you $397 a week in rent, up 17.8%.

Once the domain of the mobility scooter brigade, there's no doubt the area is changing fast, with new developments such as the Ballina Marina planned and upmarket over-55s resorts such as Palm Lakes Resort catering to a new, cashed-up and stylish crowd.

Troy MacRae, of Elders Alstonville, said investors and lifestylers from Sydney and Brisbane were most likely to move to coastal areas such as Ballina, Byron and Lennox, where median house prices rose 3.7% to $777,500 and unit prices increased 15.6% to $640,000.

He said Alstonville, where median house prices were now $486,250, up 4.6% over a year, and unit prices were up 7.0% to $301,000, were more likely to attract tree changers and semi-retired people.

He said a shortage of rental accommodation was also pushing the investor market. In Clunes, the price of a rental house went up 37.6% over a 12-month period to $640 a week.

In Lismore, housing is still affordable, with median house price of $298,000 - a 4.6% annual rise - while a house rental there will cost you $340, up 6.3% over a year.

The rental price is also $340 for an Alstonville unit, clocking up a 13.3% annual increase. A house in Lennox Head is renting for $630 on average, up 13.5%. Want to rent in Byron? Plan on spending an average of $870, an increase of 24.3% over a year.

In the Richmond Valley, results in Evans Head were disappointing, with no growth in house prices over a year - the median price remains steady at $488,000 - and units dropping 8.3% to $325,000.