South Coast Prestige Properties' Craig Higbid looks at the 2018 property market

MARKET: Among South Coast Prestige Properties' recent sales was this semi-detached/duplex property at 1/18 Bourrool Lane, Kiama. It sold for $1,450,000 in July.
MARKET: Among South Coast Prestige Properties' recent sales was this semi-detached/duplex property at 1/18 Bourrool Lane, Kiama. It sold for $1,450,000 in July.

A Kiama agent says greater accessibility to property online through virtual tours is opening up the Kiama market to increasingly more buyers nationally and overseas. 

Craig Higbid, principal/founder of South Coast Prestige Properties anticipated that external factors will continue to put pressure on the area’s property market.

“Lending authorities and regulators are tightening in the criteria for lending, which reduces the number of buyers who have the capacity to afford prices in this area,” he said. 

“However, we expect this will be off-set by cash-ready Sydney buyers who have the capacity to comfortably afford property in this area.

“In 2018, we expect to see more out-of-area buyers looking to invest in the Kiama market.”

Mr Higbid said these buyers are expecting more online information than ever before. “We note that buyers are highly responsive to virtual tours of homes, using 3D floor plans such as Matterports.

“In 2017, we had overseas buyers who purchased a property in Kiama without viewing the property in person.

“Their only engagement with the property was online. Increased accessibility to property online through virtual tours is opening up the local market to more and more buyers nationally and overseas.”

Mr Higbid said in some respects, the South Coast is becoming a “dormitory suburb” for Sydney workers.

He said work-from-home telecommuters played a pivotal role in the pool of buyers they worked with.

“The Berry bypass and the Albion Park bypass will serve to increase the accessibility of the South Coast property market to Sydney buyers. 

“Overwhelmingly, we are seeing an influx of people from Sydney who are either retired or semi-retired, who have sold their family home in Sydney and are looking to buy in Kiama and have change left in their pocket.”

According to The Domain Group, the median price for a three-bedroom house in Kiama is $745,000, with 60 sold this year and spending an average of 45 days on the market. 

Mr Higbid said on face value, the Kiama property market remains strong.

“Underpinning prices is an overall shortage of supply, and consequently, properties that are on the market are facing lower competition.

“On the flipside, we are seeing that the Kiama property market is starting to show signs of the correction occurring in the Sydney market.

“Cooling buyer demand is evident across the board, and subtle changes in buyer behaviour are starting to emerge. While sale prices by no means reflect an abject softening, reduced supply is being off-set by easing buyer inquiry and attendance numbers at open homes.”