Market buoyed by low rates

FALLING interest rates are having a positive effect on real estate, with agents in the Lower River reporting a market "on the turn".

First National Yamba licensee and sales director David Lovell said the market was "definitely stronger" now than it had been in the past few years.

"There's more confidence in buyers - both first home and investors," Mr Lovell said.

"The downward movement on interest rates has definitely impacted on the number of sales, together with a new confidence in the economy, which has seen a return of investors to the market, especially with the prices that are currently achievable.

"In recent auctions we held at The Sands, villas fetched 30% less than they were initially sold for."

Mr Lovell said until recently there were a large number of properties listed in Yamba, giving buyers the opportunity to negotiate hard with owners to achieve a sale, but with many agents experiencing a short- age of listings, vendors were now in a stronger position.

"Over the last few years the market has been weighted in favour of buyers, with lots of bargains to be had," he said.

"In the current market we're seeing more buyers competing for fewer properties. Many vendors are of the opinion that spring is the time to sell but, as with any herd mentality, this can work against them. With listings currently at a shortage, now is the ideal seller's market."

He said many of the sales were in the $300-$400,000 range for both investors and home buyers.

Elders Yamba sales director Mike Harvey agreed, saying interest rates were a huge factor in the recent surge of sales for Yamba and surrounds.

"December to March was good and April and May has been okay, but not as good," Mr Harvey said.

"A lot of properties have now come off the market.

"There seems to be a feeling of more optimism."

Mr Harvey said most of the action was coming from the western side of the highway, from villages like Ashby, Townsend, Lawrence and Maclean.

"Mostly, I think, because these places are more budget-orientated and represent better value for money," he said.

He said Yamba was attracting buyers from outside the area.

Yamba Iluka Real Estate director Denise Gillies said current market conditions were still very much in the buyer's favour, with properties selling well below replacement cost.

However she said there has been an increase of interest from buyers, which she put down to better conditions for borrowing.

"The majority of inquiries are coming through for property under $350,000- $400, 000," she said.

Facts and figures

Interest rates are at historic lows. The current rate is 2.75%, which is the lowest in more than five decades.

The latest survey of capital city home prices shows the Australian property market is starting to pick up, with prices recording the largest quarterly rise since May 2010.

The RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index shows that capital city house prices rose on average by 2.8% in the March quarter this year.

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