Merimbula house prices at stubborn lows

Constipated low house prices have stripped local homeowners of wealth and make it financially difficult for anyone considering returning to Melbourne or Sydney and some regional centres.

Real estate values slumped 15 to 20 per cent about four years ago and have not shifted off that low base.

Meanwhile Sydney’s market fetched an eye-watering 15 per cent rise in the previous 12 months turning home owners even in the western suburbs into millionaires overnight. The national growth in median home prices is 9.8 per cent.

January maintained the momentum for the nation’s two biggest cities with Sydney house prices rising a further 0.8 per cent and Melbourne a strong 3.2 per cent.

A further downside for the local market is the absence of investors; they are thin on the ground which indicates either a lack of confidence in the area’s growth or a lack of suitable properties.

But the local low priced property market is reaping rewards for bargain hunters and is creating plenty of real estate activity.

Arguably the best placed person in the industry to comment on the local market, is Don Peterson, director of Fisk & Nagle that has offices in Bega, Tura, Merimbula and Eden.

He said that while there had been no upward shift in house prices, there has been “great buyer activity”.

Mr Peterson detects a sense of optimism in the market place generated by the change in government and low interest rates. He said the activity was centred on the bottom end of the market with properties in the $340,000 price range attracting buyers. Fisk & Nagle sold 22 properties in December, he said.

The key to drive up prices, Mr Peterson said, is to clear out the lower priced housing stock which would enable properties then to move up the scale through price creep.

However that is unlikely to happen before 2015, he said.

“Prices will take a while to shift. We have buyer activity but no investors, apart from a dribble.

”The urgency in this rests with selling the bottom end. When that stock is cleared properties in the $360,000 to $390,000 price range then become the lower end of the market, pushing up values across the spectrum.”

Mr Peterson said his real estate business was gearing up for the growth in house prices. He had put on two new trainees and was looking at a third, he said.

“That is a measure of my confidence that we will experience an up cycle in the market in the not too distant future.”

The News Weekly contacted three other agents for comment but none returned the calls.

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