Forster Region Property Watch Q3 2013

The following Property Watch investigates the Forster Regions residential market conditions. The area encompasses the suburbs of Forster, Tuncurry, Diamond Beach, Failford, Tallwoods Village, Black Head, Red Head, Darawank and Hallidays Point located within the Great Lakes and Taree council areas.

The region is located in the Mid-North Coast Region of NSW, approximately 220 kilometres northeast of Sydney and is a major tourist destination renowned for its fishing and water sport activities around Wallis Lake. Shopping outlets are located at Stockland Forster and in a variety of shops along Wharf Street, just off of The Lakes Way. The Lakes Way is used as the main arterial road connecting the towns to the Pacific Highway.

The lack of motivated sellers kept transaction levels in a subdued state over the past 10 years. More recently a record-low interest rate has improved buyers confidence, leading to a rise in activity but so far failed to impact house prices. The results for the six months to April show house activity rising by 33 per cent from the corresponding period in 2012, while unit activity increased by 32 per cent. The results signal a renewed interest in lower and middle price points, while the top end remained soft. The median price of a house increased by 1.4 per cent in the 12 months to April 2013, while that of a unit softened by 2.8 per cent over the period. At $367,500 the regions median house price remained affordable compared to neighbouring coastal centres and represented good value to home buyers who sought a change in lifestyle.


A favourable lending environment has had a marginal impact on the areas real estate market. With only 21 per cent of owner-occupied dwellings owned with a mortgage, the impact of the declining interest rates was minimal. The sixty plus age group remained dominant demographics in the Forster Region, accounting for 41 per cent of the population and further impacting growth in amenities and supressing appetite for new developments.



A significant share of houses transacted in the $300,000 to $399,999 price point, accounting for 32 per cent of sales. Most of the stock in this price point consisted of three bedroom houses with one or two bathrooms, although newer four-bedroom accommodation accounted for 25 per cent of this price bracket.

Most units transacted between $150,000 and $199,999, equating to 21 per cent of sales. Units in this price bracket comprised of two bedrooms and one bathroom within the suburb of Forster (20 sales) and Tuncurry (10 sales).

Days on market in the coastal mid-north coast averaged 447 days, with 69 per cent of properties advertised for sale in the first half of 2013 exceeding 120 days. The graph below depicts the top five localities level of stock on the market. Forster accounted for two thirds (67 per cent) of stock on the market, with Tuncurry accounting for 22 per cent. Immobile stock (120 plus) accounted for 71 per cent in Forster, 62 per cent in Tuncurry and 100 per cent in Failford.


VACANT LAND

Vacant land sales have increased in the 12 months to April 2013, with 65 lots transacting between November 2012 and April 2013. Despite a fall in activity from the October six month period, the figures compare well with the 40 transactions recorded in the corresponding April period in 2012. The golf course estate in Tallwood Village accounted for the majority of sales (25 lots). A notable number of lots transacted in Pioneer Drive, Forster, recording seven transactions for the period. The median price of a lot closed the period at $159,000.


THE INVESTMENT MARKET

The 2428 postcodes advertised house rents firmed in the year to June 2013, while the median rent price for units recorded little change. The Forster market exhibited growing supply of rental properties, leading to a vacancy rate of 3.6 per cent in May, although a seasonal market tightening is expected in the second half of 2013. The increased vacancy had little impact on asking rents, with a nine per cent increase in the median rent price for a three bedroom house. The median asking rent closed at $355 per week in June 2013, while that of a unit remained unchanged over the year ($235 per week).