SOLD ON: Why more and more people are attracted to Yamba
IT MAY have been the east coast's best kept secret, but the word is spreading about the appeal of Yamba.
Popular in holiday time for it's stunning beaches surrounded by national parks and village feel, the nation was told of its beauty when Traveller magazine named it the number one best town in Australian in 2009.
However, while Yamba's population of 7000 doubles during the summer holiday break, it is also breaking with its long-held image that it is just the perfect place to retire to.
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While there is a strong presence of retirees in the town, owner of Yamba Iluka Real Estate Denise Gillies says there are more young people being attracted to the town.
"There is a quality family lifestyle on offer in Yamba, and we are now seeing the increased local employment opportunities in the area bringing younger families into the area," she said.
"They are attracted to this area because they say 'Great we can have a job and the lifestyle we want'."
Ms Gillies said the lifestyle started with the abundant natural resources of the area, starting with the stunning beaches of the area which catered for all. Within the space of a few kilometres are the iconic surfing beaches of Angourie, the stunning Main Beach that sits beneath the Yamba Lighthouse guarded by the historic Yamba Surf Club, and protected swimming areas of Whiting Beach that cater for a calmer experience.
"We have some quality natural ingredients to attract people into town," she said.
However, Ms Gillies says Yamba still retains its laid-back village feel, defying calls of it turning into the new Byron Bay.
"We're much more low key, it's more of a village feel here," she said.
"But overall we have an amazing climate, we have national parks, great clean ocean, all the ingredients anyone could want."
The town is serviced by two main shopping areas, a shopping mall on the entrance to town with major supermarkets and chains, and its central business district, which maintains a local shop feel, as well as a developing cafe and food scene.
There is two public and one private primary schools in the Yamba area, with two secondary campuses available in Maclean, another big selling point for the younger families.
"You've got good educational facitlies and you don't have a huge travel time - so it allows people to spend family time together - they're not stuck on a highway or a busy road travelling to and from work," Ms Gillies said.
"You can drop your kids off at school and still be home in five or ten minutes.
"There is also much improved travel times to major areas such as the Gold Coast, which is only getting better due to the highway upgrade."
There are numerous medical facilities including several general practitioners, an ambulance station and health care centre, as well as a district hospital 15 minutes away, features that help attract many people looking to retire into the area.
And while once the retirees looked for a homestead, Ms Gillies said there is a change in their perspective on the town.
"Once they were looking for the big block of land and a highset house, but now they're looking for a smaller block, lowset that is nice and comfortable, but able to be locked up while they travel," she said.
"The retirees are much more mobile, and they find Yamba as a base a wonderful place to come back to."
Ms Gillies said that Yamba happily straddled for all buyers in the marketplace, with affordable homes for a young family through to prestige properties that take full advantage of the natural surrounds and position.
With many national infrastructure projects developing through the area such as the Pacific Highway redevelopment, Grafton bridge building and upcoming new jail, there is also a surge of professionals entering the Yamba market, and Ms Gillies said that for those looking to sell in the area there was a boon.
"If you're considering selling, the ingredients are there to get a bit more value in the home at the moment," she said.
"Especially in houses under $500,000, in 3 or 4 bedroom homes many homes can be listed and sold within 24 hours such is the demand.
"It's all very positive. There's going to be a lot of employment on the ground and a lot of people that may be here now and think that Yamba could well be the place - especially if you're a younger family," she said.
"I think we're starting to see facilities to go into place for the valley that will give permanent employment and attract those people here."