Happy new year! I hope you have enjoyed your Christmas holidays… even though they have been unlike any other. Before the sudden and unexpected lockdown of the ‘northern zone’ of the Northern Beaches, our real estate market experienced a sharp rise in prices.
The unpredictable year that was 2020 surprised us with a very busy 4th quarter in property sales. Stock was flying off the shelves for reasons such as – out of area buyers; low interest rates; low stock… the perfect storm for an end of year buying frenzy. Our community and businesses were heaving with locals and the first of the seasons holiday makers… it was difficult to find a park, let alone a property to buy!
And then came the sudden lockdown. What started as 3 days continued over 3 weeks and sadly many of our visitors and holiday makers cancelled coming in, our holidays and celebrations were also put on hold. Christmas on the beaches was quieter and unlike any other we have experienced.
Now that 2021 has begun it will again be proven how resilient we and the local property market, are proven to be. I am back on the phone with buyers and sellers, the key question everyone is asking is “What can I expect in the Upper Northern Beaches’ property market 2021?“
To start with, let’s look at how the year ended as far as sale prices and rentals in 2020. Below is a snapshot of the numbers from realestate.com.au –
|Suburb||Median House Price (4 bed)||Median Rental (4 bed)||Median Rental (3 bed)|
|Mona Vale||$1,907,500||$1225 pw||$975 pw|
|Newport||$2,117,000||$1200 pw||$978 pw|
|Avalon Beach||$2,300,000||$1400 pw||$898 pw|
|Bilgola Plateau||$1,885,000||$1,150 pw||$975 pw|
|Whale Beach||$5,201,000||$1,500 pw||–|
|Palm Beach||$3,600,000||$1,100 pw|
Everything is telling us that the property market in the Upper Northern Beaches is set to remain strong in 2021.
Let’s look at my key reasons why…
High demand in the coastal suburbs
Buying in the Upper Northern Beaches for the vast majority of buyers is a lifestyle choice. People want to live here and are prepared to pay premium prices to live in one of the most coveted peninsula’s of the world. With the finest beaches, boating, food, landscapes and community on offer, as well as easy access and commute to the CBD, it’s no wonder less people want to move out of the region than move in. Once you’re here it’s hard to leave! If you look on realestate.com.au the average visits per property in NSW is 1571, with property listings in the suburbs of the peninsula being viewed somewhere between 2,500-5,000 times, well above the average.
You can’t talk about the property market right now without first talking about the low level of listings. I believe this is happening for two main reasons. Firstly, on a local level, there has been a trend towards homeowners renovating rather than selling and upgrading. As talked about above, people in the Upper Northern Beaches tend to love where they live, so rather than spending money on the transaction costs of buying, selling and moving they invest that money into renovating their existing property to suit growing needs.
Secondly, low listings is a wider market trend. Compared to a decade ago, Australians are staying in their home an average of more than three years longer, we aren’t moving around as quickly! But that may change with the proposal below…
Stamp duty proposed changes
In November 2020, the NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet announced the government intends to give buyers the chance to opt out of stamp duty and instead pay an annual tax based on the value of their land. The NSW property tax proposal is currently in consultation with the community and you can learn what this means for you here.
Stamp duty is one of the biggest impediments to purchasing a home, especially here in the Upper Northern Beaches where prices tend to be well above average. The stamp duty payable on the median house prices in the Upper Northern Beaches, ranges from lowest at Bilgola Plateau with $1.88 million purchase price incurring stamp duty at $88,972, to highest in Whale Beach, where the median house sells for $5.2 million, the average stamp duty comes in at an eye-watering $303,702.
If the NSW government goes ahead with its proposed change, it could significantly reduce the upfront cost of buying a home and make it easier for first home buyers to get into the property market, and also be an incentive for potential sellers to come to market as the transitional costs are reduced.
That said, while proposed changes to stamp duty is aiming to make it easier to buy into the market, don’t be surprised if it has the opposite effect. With less to pay up front, people will have more money in their pocket which may push prices upwards.
Plenty of buyers
In the last quarter we have seen a significant amount of buyers coming into the area. Many are from interstate, particularly Victoria, and others from the inner city and Eastern suburbs of Sydney looking for a lifestyle change. As Covid has changed the way we work, moving to the coastal suburbs has become an option for many more buyers.
Another reason buyers are out in herds is that the interest rates are at an all time low due to the RBA cash rate of 0.1%. This is translating through to home-loans, mortgages are cheaper, in some cases cheaper than rent, and buyers are wanting to purchase and lock in that low interest rate.
Investors are investing in property
With the uncertainty 2020 created in some markets, including superannuation, many investors are putting their money in hard assets, property being top of the list. In short – investors are on the hunt for investment properties on the Northern Beaches.
Rentals in high demand
The rental market in the Upper Northern Beaches is also soaring, prices on many of our rental properties have increased by around 20% this last quarter, particularly on family homes as there has been so many more applications than there have been available houses for rent.
Our market is buoyant in uncertainty
The ‘Northern zone of the Northern Beaches’ remains a property hotspot. When real estate markets around Australia or even in Sydney are stressed, our local market tends to hold up well, again, it’s an exclusive part of the world that buyers will pay a premium for in spite of market trends. So, even if other regions are at risk of market volatility, or pull backs in 2021, our local market would likely stay stable. This is reassuring coming into 2021 as fiscal policies change and expire (including Covid stimulus packages like ‘Jobkeeper’) the evidence says that our local market will stay buoyant.
Public investment continues to add long term value
The current works and projects by the Northern Beaches Council and the NSW government are major. Investments into roads such as $140 million into the Mona Vale Road East upgrade, our council Capital works program into Basketball courts, cycle ways, Surf Life Saving Club renovations, libraries, creative spaces, public space and recreation centres all make for not only a stronger and healthier community but also add value to the local economy as the Upper Northern Beaches continues to have state of the art facilities, amenities, roads and transport.
In conclusion…. What do we know for sure?
One thing that hasn’t changed – people want to live in the Upper Northern Beaches. While there may be movements, softenings or falls in other regions of the country or the city we know that the Upper Northern Beaches will remain stable, strong and one of the most magnificent places to live.