A RECORD price paid for one of Grafton's iconic residences is an indication of where the city's future can be found, says the home's former owner.
Twelve years ago Rosemary Graves bought Arcola, facing the river and on the corner of Victoria and Alice Sts. She has sold the 108-year-old Victorian Italianate residence for its asking price of $895,000 to a couple from Canberra, who plan to retire to the area.
The principal from selling agents Elders Real Estate, Grafton, David Dart said he believed it was the highest price paid for a residential property in Grafton.
"I've contacted a few people who might know and they're saying the same thing," Mr Dart said.
Ms Graves put Arcola up for sale about 18 months ago and says achieving the asking price vindicated her decision to stick to her guns.
"I've got to thank David and Kylie for backing me up on staying with the original price," Ms Graves said.
She said the price showed there was real value in historic residences in Grafton and people should not undervalue them.
"Arcola is the only State Heritage-listed residence in Grafton," she said.
"There seems to be a view that heritage listing is a liability, but I disagree.
"I've got no idea why you would think that. People in Grafton have to realise there is value in the city's history."
Ms Graves said this value should be reflected in developing Grafton as a tourist destination for people who want to visit the region for its history and culture as well as its natural beauty.
"It will have to be developed as a package with restaurants, the river and close proximity to the coast," she said.
Mr Dart said he and fellow marketing agent Kylie Pearson were always confident Arcola would sell for the price asked.
"We knew it would take more time because we had to find the right buyer," he said.
"We knew they were out there and had to give them a chance to find out about it."
He said they learned a lot about marketing historic residences through the process.
"One of the things we did was put the listing up on a website specialising in historic houses," he said.
Mr Dart said the buyers were looking for a house like Arcola, but not specifically in Grafton.
"It was the house they wanted that brought them to Grafton," he said.
Ms Graves said she was going through a process of grieving after the sale.
"I'm excited and sad at the same time," she said.
Mr Dart said the sale would be finalised in late April when the new owners would move into their home.