International and Aussie investors have Clarence on radar
THE Clarence Valley is leading the way for investment returns, piquing the interest of people far away from the rural surrounds.
For Grafton Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phil Belletty it is interests within his own family that make him very positive about the region's outlook.
"My brother, Andrew, (of Sydney) is very interested in the property market here in the Valley," Mr Belletty said. "He is a former accountant and sound engineer and a keen property investor who has owned properties in major metropolitan and international locations but now has his sights set on this region.
"Last year he visited the Valley and he has seen the stats and crunched the numbers and said he believes that this area is the perfect place to invest."
And Andrew Belletty is far from alone in his beliefs.
At a chamber breakfast on Wednesday, Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan spoke anecdotally about a group of Chinese people who were also keen on the Grafton region.
"I had a guy 12 months ago now who has an English as a Second Language college," Mr Hogan said.
"He brought a bus load of Chinese people and drove them around the place. He drove them through Grafton, through the Gold Coast and he asked where they would like to set up.
"You know what they said, they said Grafton. It is because this is what they think Australia is. He is now looking to do that."
With a rental vacancy rate of 1% the demand for housing is huge in the Valley.
"From an economical stand point this is fantastic for us," Mr Belletty said. "People who have invested in properties in recent times have done it quite tough in the Valley, so it is great that this is beginning to turn around.
"In fact the demand for properties is so high that there are people now who are putting their houses up for rent, getting in their caravans and having a basically all-expenses paid Grey Nomad tour.
"It is such a good idea that I have even thought about giving it a go."
Mr Hogan is hopeful the high amount of demand for rental properties in the Clarence Valley will spur more property development.
"We need affordable housing for our community," he said.
"I hope this will spur more investment."