'It's quite unusual': Property prices skyrocket
THE Byron Shire has always been a desirable place for cashed-up buyers looking for luxury homes.
This was the case long before Chris Hemsworth and his fellow Hollywood stars flocked to the region, and growth in property prices has reflected this over the years.
But new data has shown astonishing growth in some particular suburbs.
The REA Insights Regional Australia report 2020 has considered the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional housing markets.
According to the report, Bangalow has experienced a 1281 per cent increase in its median house price in the past 20 years.
The median price there was $76,000 in the year 2000 but today sits at $1,050,000.
The report's author, chief economist Nerida Conisbee, said Bangalow had seen "the strongest growth in Australia".
"It's quite unusual," Ms Conisbee said.
"It seems an incredible rate of growth."
Byron Bay itself has meanwhile had a staggering 30 per cent increase in its median house price in the past three months alone.
"It's been very, very rapid growth," Ms Conisbee said.
The area was "very popular" pre-COVID, but Ms Conisbee said the pandemic appeared to have accelerated this change.
"It's the top end of town that does seem to be doing better at the moment," she said.
While it may be great news for those who already own property in these suburbs, Ms Conisbee agreed the intense growth brought challenges for others.
"If you're living in the local area and don't own a home and want to buy a home it does create a lot of problems," she said.
Demographer Bernard Salt said the Northern Rivers was among the regions targeted by the "flee the city movement caused by COVID".
"The Northern Rivers was always popular as a retirement destination and as a lifestyle destination," Mr Salt said.
"There's another driver, another piston, that is propelling people into the Northern Rivers."
He said "inclusivity" of these communities is key, while good planning and public transport can help to keep these towns accessible to all, including the workers who make a community operate.
"Councils, from my close observations, are right across this," he said.
While the price surge has its challenges, Mr Salt said it's not all bad.
"It's a very public admission that people value the lifestyle that you have chosen, dear residents of the Northern Rivers," he said.