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Welcome to Yamba sign, Yamba: Image: Pat Fordham.

Demand for Clarence Valley homes skyrocketing in wake of COVID-19

Pat Fordham

City slickers and out-of-towners plan to move to regional areas is pushing prices up all over the Clarence.

The Clarence Valley has long been an in-demand location to holiday, but since the pandemic erupted, many are deciding to make the area their new home.

Principal of Ray White Yamba, Daniel Kelly, believes that many city dwellers are viewing regional areas as prospective areas to live and raise a family, now that COVID has made working from home a possibility.

“When COVID first hit last year, people were expecting that prices were going to go the other way, but what it has done has made regional areas and coastal regional areas especially, very attractive”, Mr Kelly says.

This has pushed prices up in Yamba significantly over the past year, with the average price of a home pushing upwards of $550,000, compared to this time last year of just over half a million.

“That increase effectively happened in the last six months of last year, so it has been a sharp increase in a short space of time”, the Principal of Ray White Yamba says.

Prices in Maclean have been increasing over the past year as well, with Judithann Forrester from Dougherty Property in Maclean, believing this trend is put down to several factors.

‘It would be attributed to COVID, people realising now that they don’t necessarily have to live in cities, they can live in regional areas, the government with their policy of trying to grow the regional areas for that purpose and the motorway is also a large factor’, the licensed real estate agent says.

City Dwellers Move Regional

There has been an influx of community making their way to Yamba and surrounds, with the population of the sleepy coastal town expected to grow enormously in the next five years.

Alan Freedman, a former Mornington Peninsula resident, just purchased a block of land in Yamba and plans to build on it soon. He believes that an increasing number of his fellow Victorian’s are deciding to leave the southern state due to overpopulation concerns.

“They don’t have the infrastructure for 600,000 people to live there (on the Mornington Peninsula). They put in two new freeways’, but it’s still not enough”, Mr Freedman says.

When looking for property in the local area, the 74-year-old was stunned when trying to understand why a block of land in a town of 6,000 people on the far-north coast of New South Wales would cost such an astronomical figure.

“I was amazed at the price of land and houses. If you tried to compare it with a similar sized place in Victoria, it’s probably double”, the new resident says.

Grafton Also Affected

The Upper-Clarence has also been heavily affected in the past twelve months, with the city currently experiencing an increase of demand from the metropolitan and other regional areas. This has pushed the median house price up to $340,000 and a rental return of just over $350 per week.

The licensed estate agent and owner of LJ Hooker Grafton, Paul Tobias, believes that this is the result of Grafton fast becoming an area of interest for many outside the area.

“The demand is outweighing the supply at the moment and that’s right across the board”, Mr Tobias notes.

The Grafton based estate agent is also a believer that this strong increase in demand is a result of newcomers viewing the town as not only a good place to live, but also worthy of an investment.

“It has affordable housing with a good rental return”, the owner of LJ Hooker Grafton notes.

Even though prices for property and land are skyrocketing all over the Clarence Valley region, prospective homeowners are not being put off by the hefty price tag.

Alan Freedman believes that there is nothing quite like the Clarence Valley and says every dollar spent on the property, was worth the chance to live in the area.

“When you look around the place, you see what the place has got to offer. The waterways, Yamba has a nice little village atmosphere and it’s not overcrowded”, Mr Freedman says.