Through boom and bust Ken Giese has seen it all
FOR three generations the Giese family has been a part of the Maclean community, first as main street retailers and now as real estate agents, with Ken Giese celebrating his 21st year as a part of the Maclean LJ Hooker team.
A 25 year real estate veteran, Giese began his career working in Yamba in 1990 before returning to Maclean in 1994, and he has seen the town go through bust and boom.
"When I was a kid growing up I remember Maclean as this vibrant, independent town because it had developed its own infrastructure capable of servicing the area," he said. "But after I came back I saw a lot of money being lost due to the development of big shopping centres and services in places like Coffs Harbour."
"There was an interest in coastal development and we couldn't keep up, on top of that there was a recession going on. It wasn't easy but we survived."
The down times were not to last though, as Maclean saw its own real estate gold rush.
"Between 2000 and 2004 property prices boomed, a workers cottage that was worth $85,000 in 1994 was worth $140,000 in 2001," he said.
"We also saw a big change in the customer base around then.
"Our clients originally came from places like Sydney, but after the improvement of the roads between the valley and Queensland as well as the population increase there a lot of people from south east Queensland started moving out to smaller towns like ours."
"The land became very desirable, with a block worth $40,000 selling for close to $100,000, but then 2010 hit and we fell off the precipice and hit the floor."
After the 2010 Global Financial Crisis, real estate prices in Maclean dropped about 12%, but according to Mr Giese the slump is breaking.
"Prices dropped during the GFC, but from around 2014 we've started to see resurgence, growth is starting to kick back in again and it's good to see."
For Mr Giese, Maclean is a town with a bright future ahead of it.
"Maclean has plenty of flood free land for future growth, it has the charm that people fall in love with, it still has the original infrastructure to build upon, its got the foundation that it needs," he said, "We can't pretend that the change isn't going to happen."
"This town has an enormous future ahead of it if we support it and let it happen."