We all know the Australian property market is stupid. Both Sydney and Melbourne rank in the top ten least affordable places to buy a house in the world (#3 and #6, if you’re curious), and other cities such as Hobart and Canberra are also starting to feel the crunch.
On top of that, regional centres have also seen property prices dramatically rise over the last eighteen months, as city-dwellers, scared off by COVID and the continuing strength of urban property markets, have sought greener pastures – literally. But there’s one regional centre that’s outperformed any other: Byron Bay.
Australia’s official home of activated almonds and ~good vibes~ has quickly become the most expensive place to buy a home in Australia, with the median house price skyrocketing from $1,286,000 in mid-2020 to over $2,700,000 by mid-2021. Many attribute Byron’s price explosion to the high-profile arrival of celebrity buyers: the Hemsworths (brothers Chris Hemsworth, Luke and Liam), Zac Efron and Matt Damon, to name a few, have all bought multi-million dollar houses in Byron recently.
Indeed, there’s even a name for it: ‘the Hemsworth effect’. But while the price hikes seem hard to justify, that doesn’t mean you should be deterred from moving to Byron.
Firstly, the reason many big-name celebs have moved to Byron is that many Hollywood film productions – notably, some of Marvel’s superhero films, such as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, moved to New South Wales to escape the horrific COVID conditions in other parts of the world. But now that Europe and the United States are opening back up, and Australia is emerging as a laggard when it comes to dealing with COVID, we’ll see many of those productions move back overseas, and the celebs with them, which might take some heat out of the property market.
Secondly, when Sydney and Melbourne finally get a grip on The Spicy Cough as we move into summer (fingers crossed), people will want to come back to the country’s two biggest cities. Byron might be a slice of paradise but it’s still a regional centre with few of the amenities that our bigger urban centres boast. Probably not too many Range Rover service centres out there…
The uncomfortable truth, however, is that while the 12-month median house price hike is truly ridiculous, you’re still able to get more value for money when it comes to property in Byron than you are in Sydney or Melbourne, especially if you want some beach access (a testament to how f*cked Sydney and Melbourne property prices are).
DMARGE spoke exclusively with Edward Brown, Director at leading Australian real estate provider Belle Property, who puts it this way: “Byron’s very expensive right now but it’s no surprise why. You’re still getting bang for your buck, compared to Sydney.”
As for his predictions for which NSW suburbs will continue to see big price rises, he reckons “Bondi, Coogee… Anywhere with a bit of water. People love the lifestyle” – which you’ll notice, tacitly includes Byron.
Better start saving, then.