• Greg Morgan

Coastal Surge in House Prices

House prices are up across Australia, but some regions are surging much more than others. Property prices in beachside towns and suburbs have risen by more than $750,000 in some locations, as rich city dwellers escape lockdowns and head for the coast. From Sydney's northern beaches to Byron Bay, the Mornington Peninsula, and the Sunshine Coast, let's take a look at current market prices in some of Australia's most desirable locations.

Sydney's northern beaches have long seen some of the hottest property prices in the country. The global pandemic has put renewed pressure on this already heated market, with top-end suburbs rising in value by more than the price of many homes. Based on data from Domain, Palm Beach is up $763,078 over the year to June, with a median house in this affluent suburb now costing $4,362,500.

Neighbouring Avalon Beach has also risen in value at an amazing pace, with its median house price up $545,000 over the year to $2,512,500. The median house price in Bilgola Plateau rose more than $520,600 to $2.2 million, and Newport prices grew $484,600 to reach $2.4 million over the same time period. According to LJ Hooker Palm Beach principal David Edwards, the northern beaches are "very, very popular and I think that’s part and parcel of the COVID situation where people could reassess their life work relationship.”

In sub-tropical northern NSW, prices are rising by a similar amount in certain select locales. In Byron Bay, median house values have jumped by more than $655,000 in a single year, to reach a healthy median of $1.96 million. While the hottest prices are reserved for select coastal locations like Wategos Beach, demand has also spilled into surrounding towns. While commuting daily to Sydney, or even Brisbane, is not an option in northern NSW, COVID-19 is continuing to change perspectives.

Not all huge property gains are reserved for NSW, with Victoria also seeing big moves on the Mornington Peninsula. While Melbourne has seen a significant exodus during the global pandemic, the same thing can't be said for the coast. House prices jumped by almost $470,000 in Blairgowrie to reach a median of $1,392,500, with Portsea price movements not far behind with a rise of $451,000 to $2.85 million. Highlighting the diminishing importance of city access to affluent markets, Somers gained by $732,000 to reach a median of $1,706,750 on the far side of the peninsula.

Queensland has also seen a rise in southern arrivals since the pandemic, and prices have risen sharply in some areas. While parts of the Gold Coast have seen strong growth, the greatest movement has been further north. House prices in Noosa’s Sunshine Beach rose by more than $445,600 over the year, with the median house price coming in at $2.2 million. While growth in Queensland and elsewhere has been fuelled by big city lockdowns, which are coming to an end, the rise of remote working arrangements across Australia is likely to put pressure on coastal markets for some time to come.

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