THE Northern Rivers property market is out-performing most of Australia, a leading national real estate expert has revealed. chief economist Nerida Conisbee dropped into Lismore to share a snapshot of the Northern Rivers at the Expect More Real Estate Seminar, where she explained why the Richmond-Tweed area was one of the strongest growing regions in the country as well as which part of the region had hot property and why.

From crunching website clicks and transactions, Ms Conisbee found Richmond-Tweed to be the eighth strongest growth region in the country, with property purchases increasing 31.4 per cent in the last five years.

“In that, we found more inland areas such as Casino and Lismore are doing quite well which was quite surprising,” Ms Conisbee said.

“Somewhere like Lismore or Casino you are less likely to get people buying holiday homes – they’d be buying them in Byron or Brunswick Heads – so you are less likely getting Sydney money or Melbourne money pushing up pricing.

“We’ve certainly seen places like Byron Bay properties increase in value, but if you compare what’s been happening in larger parts of Australia where Richmond-Tweed is sitting is outstanding because we’ve seen some quite strong decline in many places around Australia, while this area has continued to grow. The region has just continued to power along.”

Ms Conisbee put the decline down to things like the Royal Commission and people struggling to get finance as well as a sentiment shift, where people were moving away from buying property in Melbourne and Sydney.

Putting the region’s growth down to job creation in certain areas, leading to population growth creating demand for housing, she said it also came down to lifestyle and housing affordability.

“People love it up here and love the lifestyle, but without jobs it is very difficult for people to move,” she said.

In terms of price growth in the region, Kingscliff was the strongest performer with a median price of $1,070,000 – a 15.1 per cent growth-rate in 12 months.

Surprisingly, Mullumbimby was second on the list with a median price of $770,000 – a 10 per cent growth-rate in 12 months. Not surprisingly Bangalow was up there with a median price of $935,000 – a 7.3 per cent growth rate. Lennox Head wasn’t far behind with a media price of $980,000 – a growth rate of 5.2 per cent.

Casino followed, with a median price of $295,000 – a 3.5 per cent growth rate. Byron Bay was second last with a median price of $1550,000 – an increase of 3.3 per cent and East Lismore took out last place with a median price of $385,000 – an increase of 2.9 per cent.

Again, Ms Conisbee put the property inflation down to job creation.

“Obviously, Byron Bay is not affordable, the median is $1.5 million, it’s like Sydney pricing,” she said.

“But here, if you go inland, more properties are still affordable… probably less affordable than it was five years ago but it’s still possible to buy a great home in Lismore for far less than elsewhere.

“Places like Tweed Heads, West casino and East Lismore have seen an some decent price growth over the past 12 months, mainly because of job creation,” she said.

“Mullumbimby is getting up there, it’s got a traction in its own right.

“Overall the region is very positive, when I am talking at events around Australian about property markets I can visit places like Townsville or Perth or Darwin where the market is really tough but there’s not a lot of bad news here.”

Nationally, Ms Conisbee said a great deal of market stimulus was only helping property markets in Australia.

“APRA have removed the speed limit on investor lending growth, the cap on interest-only loans and the 7.5 per cent stress test on home loans,” she said.

“The Federal Government has cut income taxes, made no changes to negative gearing and will be giving first home buyers a chance to buy with a 5 per cent deposit at the end of the year.

“The RBA has cut interest rates twice and there may be further cuts.”