Byron Bay

How the party is OVER in Byron Bay as property prices spiral out of control

PHOTO: The party is ending at Byron Bay (pictured) and popular coastal spots less than two hours’ drive from a big city as house prices surge to unattainable levels. GETTY

  • Byron Bay, Kiama, Victoria’s Surf Coast have all seen drop in big city residents
  • They are also Australia’s three most expensive regional property markets in 2022
  • This is occurring as young people increasingly relocate to coastal regional areas 
  • Byron Mayor Michael Lyon said high rents meant town lacked hospitality staff

Byron Bay‘s housing affordability crisis is now so bad the popular town is planning to build public housing so middle-class professionals with degrees can afford to live there.

Byron Bay

Why most of us will NEVER live the Byron Bay life: House prices climb above $2MILLION

Younger Generation X and Millennials are increasingly moving to regional areas such as the Gold Coast and Newcastle due to Sydney and Melbourne house prices now beyond the reach of average-income earners buying on their own.

But in Byron Bay, Kiama and Victoria’s Surf Coast, the opposite is happening with the number of new residents moving from a capital city falling over the year.

These coastal havens located a two-hour drive from a major metropolis are now simply too expensive.

Investors cashing in on Airbnb rentals in the Byron Bay region are also being targeted with a new 90-day limit on short-term holiday letting to try and free-up housing for local residents.

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Byron Mayor Michael Lyon said expensive property prices and rents also meant the popular town would not have enough staff this summer at restaurants and cafes.

‘It’s a major, major issue for a lot of our community because housing both to buy and to rent are increasingly out of reach for a large proportion of people,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘This impacts on businesses and their ability to hire staff, and there’s not really a business in Byron Shire at the moment that’s not struggling to find staff.

‘We are going to be in real trouble if we have a busy tourist season.’

'Remarkable' estate in Byron Bay

Inside the Byron Bay hideaway with with a price tag of $30MILLION

 

Byron Bay’s housing crisis 

Byron Shire Council is now planning new community eco-village housing so nurses, baristas and even council town planners can afford to buy or rent in Byron Bay.

Byron Mayor Michael Lyon said expensive property prices and rents meant the town would not have enough staff this summer at restaurants and cafes

Byron Mayor Michael Lyon said expensive property prices and rents meant the town would not have enough staff this summer at restaurants and cafes

Like Singapore, Byron Bay could see public housing for the middle class under a ‘contribution scheme’ proposal where 20 per cent of rezoned land would have to go to a council or community housing provider.

‘There has been in the past a reluctance to approve new development but I think, increasingly, our local community is understanding that we are going to build housing,’ Mr Lyon said.

Elyse Knowles and fiancé Josh Barker purchase their second home in Byron Bay | WATCH

‘It’s not just a supply issue, it’s ensuring that it’s affordable supply.

‘This isn’t social housing, this is people like key workers that have the ability to finance the construction cost or to pay the rent.

The Byron Shire Council area on the NSW far north coast in April became the first regional area to have a median house price above $2million (pictured - an upmarket Byron Bay house)

The Byron Shire Council area on the NSW far north coast in April became the first regional area to have a median house price above $2million (pictured – an upmarket Byron Bay house)

‘A key worker in a tourist town isn’t just a nurse or a doctor or an ambo, it’s almost everyone: it’s your barista, it’s your planning staff in the council, we’ve got a lot of creatives down here.’

Byron Bay

Where buyers/sellers are looking for the next Noosa or Byron Bay in QLD

The Byron council has also recently been given approval to impose a 90-day annual cap on short-term holiday letting, targeting those leasing out their properties on Airbnb.

‘Anyone who owns an investment holiday let, who I have no sympathy for I might add given the increase in values that they’ve enjoyed,’ Mr Lyon said.

In April, the Byron Shire Council area became the first regional area to have a median house price above $2million – putting it in the same league as Sydney’s north shore following a 21.1 per cent annual surge, CoreLogic data showed.

Byron Bay

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In Byron Bay itself, the middle house price is $2.8million.

The housing crisis is now so bad Byron Bay, best known as the home of movie star Chris Hemsworth (pictured), homes could soon be built so the likes of baristas and even council workers can afford to live in the area

The housing crisis is now so bad Byron Bay, best known as the home of movie star Chris Hemsworth (pictured), homes could soon be built so the likes of baristas and even council workers can afford to live in the area

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the number of people moving to Byron from a capital city fell by five per cent in the year to March, new data from the Commonwealth Bank and the Regional Australia Institute showed.

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Australia’s most expensive regional house markets

1. BYRON BAY, NSW: $2,004,354

2. KIAMA, NSW: $1,708,243

3. SURF COAST, VIC: $1,542,916

4. NOOSA, QLD: $1,495,696

5. WINGECARRIBEE, NSW: $1,347,235

6. BALLINA, NSW: $1,229,729

7. WOLLONGONG, NSW: $1,105,445

8. GOLD COAST, QLD: $1,094,519

9.  TWEED, NSW: $1,089,268

10. SUNSHINE COAST, QLD: $1,068,903

Source: CoreLogic data for April 2022 based on local government areas

‘If you’re not already one of the moderately wealthy to majorly wealthy people, then yes, that’s a struggle,’ Mr Lyon said.

‘The people who can afford to live here –  they’re not coming here to be a barista, they’re not filling jobs locally, they’re just working from home or not working at all,  or even worse, just leaving the house vacant and holiday letting it.

‘It’s all out of balance: to get the balance right, we need to make sure we’ve got the workforce to service the tourists, otherwise we’re going to damage the brand, when people are coming here, they are not going to be welcome.

‘They’re not going to be serviced properly and you’re in a downward spiral.’

While Australia reopened its border in December last year, Mr Lyon said Byron Bay was still struggling from having fewer overseas backpackers with working visas who traditionally filled the local hospitality jobs.

‘We don’t have the backpackers coming through either who probably were prepared to live in worse conditions than your average Australian,’ he said.

Byron Bay wasn’t even the worst-hit expensive regional area, when it came to falling permanent arrivals from the big cities.

READ MORE VIA THE DAILY MAIL

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