Austinmer has emerged as one of the Illawarra’s star property performers in a challenging year for the high end of the market.
Six of its best sales in the 12 months to May topped $1 million, pushing up its annual median price increase to 11.5 per cent.
It significantly outshone nearby northern darlings such as Thirroul, Stanwell Park, Wombarra and Coledale, according to Australian Property Monitor figures.
‘‘Sydneysiders are prepared to spend big in suburbs like Austinmer because they equate it with the best of their northern beach suburbs for a third of the price,’’ said Illawarra Real Estate Institute chairman Charles Hegyi.
‘‘Its appeal comes down to the fact it’s a narrow strip of land between mountains and sea with enormous natural beauty and limited land for development,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s similar to Thirroul but land releases in that suburb have held back capital growth there this year.’’
The only new release in Austinmer was the recent Seamist on prime land on the old Austinmer Bowling Club site which was limited to six lots, ranging in price from $650,000 to $750,000 – for the land only.
Excavators were on the site of the old bowlo this week and demolished the club in a day.
Mr Hegyi said that style of development was consistent with the character of the suburb.
‘‘I’d hate to see the place carved up in such a way where developers were trying to jam in as many houses as possible,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s happening in Stanwell Park and I wouldn’t like to see that trend continuing.’’
Top sales of the 42 Austinmer properties were $1.6 million in Yuruga Street, $1.39 million in Boyce Avenue, and $1.2 million in Mountain Road.
Central Wollongong was a mixed bag of highs and lows during the 12 months to May.
Sales of luxurious houses and apartments in North Wollongong sent its annual growth in prices skyrocketing to 27 per cent, while Figtree at minus 1.4 per cent showed negative growth for the second year in a row.
Southern suburbs that increased significantly in value were Shellharbour (11.3 per cent) and Gerringong (8.1 per cent).
Mr Hegyi named Berkeley, Warrawong and Unanderra as the sleepers in the south to awaken over the next decade. They had between 3 and 4 per cent increases in median house prices on the previous year.
‘‘People want to remain close to work and transport and these are all close to the CBD, the university and are priced relatively low,’’ he said. ‘‘Big money has started to pour into newer sections of Berkeley and it’s just a matter of people seeing other people spending money to instil confidence.’’
Apart from spikes in certain suburbs, the year had been subdued, particularly at the top end, Illawarra Regional Information Service executive director Simon Pomfret said.
Despite discounting, many of the high-end properties have remained on the market for between two and five months, some longer.
The next 12 months should be more buoyant as long as the positive indicators like low interest rates, pent-up demand and steady prices came together, Mr Pomfret said.