Kiama market changing, but still seeing ‘positive results’

PROPERTY: Retiree Kay A’Court, 70, relocated from Penshurst to Kiama in May, having bought a three-bedroom house for $1.2 million. Picture: Supplied
PROPERTY: Retiree Kay A’Court, 70, relocated from Penshurst to Kiama in May, having bought a three-bedroom house for $1.2 million. Picture: Supplied

Attendance numbers at open homes may be down and finance more difficult to secure, but some believe the Kiama market will remain resilient. 

This was particularly apparent in the Kiama LGA, where houses had a median price of $953,000 at the end of June 2018, compared to $830,000 at the end of June 2017. 

This represents a growth of 14.8 per cent in the past 12 months. 

In the suburb of Kiama, houses had a median price of $920,000 at the end of June. 

The suburb recorded a year-on-year price growth of 16.5 per cent, and a five-year price growth of 81.5 per cent. 

Retiree Kay A’Court, 70, relocated from Penshurst to Kiama in May, having bought a three-bedroom house for $1.2 million. 

She’s holidayed in the area in the past and has friends in Jamberoo. 

“It’s always been in the back of my mind, and I thought if I don’t make a move now, I’ll never make a move, so just decided to do it,” she said. 

“I’ve always thought it was such a lovely place down here.”

Ms A’Court said the value for money she could get in Kiama compared to Sydney was a factor in her decision, but it was more because she wanted to leave the busy city in favour of a more relaxed lifestyle. 

Craig Higbid, principal of South Coast Prestige Properties said they were noticing numbers of sales and attendance at open homes in Kiama were down, but they were still seeing “positive, strong results”.

He said because the market was changing in the Kiama area, agents were also beginning to adjust their prices accordingly. 

Mr Higbid attributed much of this change to tighter lending criteria from banks. 

Mr Higbid said there was also a degree of cashed-up Sydney buyers propping up the Kiama market. 

“For example, we had a recent sale in Kiama; it was a Sydney buyer – cash, no finance,” he said.

“There’s buyers circulating around that don’t need finance, so out-of-area buyers are still quite strong in the area in terms of purchasing.”

Ray White Kiama principal Michele Lay said she believed Kiama was largely unaffected by outside trends.

“We live in this little insular bubble, and it’s a very desirable place to live,” she said.

Ms Lay said although there were lesser numbers of inquiries on listings, auction clearance rates were still strong. 

“There isn’t the bullishness of the market that we have had, but I believe people do still find Kiama a highly desirable location,” she said. 

First National Coast & Country agent Andy Wharton agreed that the Kiama market was changing, and believed there was typically a lag in the flow-on effects from the Sydney market. 

He said tighter lending conditions from banks following the Royal Commission were taking effect, with “every buyer being scrutinised, far more than they were in say, March”.

“No one can stick their head in the sand and say, ‘this is not going to affect us, we’re resilient, we’re Kiama’.. I think it’ll affect everybody,” he said. 

“If you’re cashed-up from Sydney, you won’t have any trouble buying a property. But if you have to borrow money, this will make it more difficult.”

He said noted that “coming into a spring market, more people tend to list their properties than in winter”. 

“So we’re going to probably see more properties coming on to the market, and possibly less buyers,” he said.