Good buys, top prices

UNIT prices in Murwillumbah rose by almost 36 per cent last year, but that doesn't mean there aren't bargains to be snapped up by the astute buyer.

Figures released by property sales analysts RP Data indicate the price of units, townhouses and villas rose by 35.7 per cent in 2008, but this shouldn't deter first home buyers from buying in the area according to fifth-generation agent Paul Leslight from P Smith and Son.

“Units and townhouses are normally favoured by first home buyers as they are usually the most inexpensive way to enter the property market,” he said.

“But these figures are more a reflection on the limited supply of strata-titled properties like townhouses, villas and units in the area, than the actual price you would pay to start out in the local property market.”

According to the RP Data figures, 16 units were sold in the Murwillumbah area in 2008, with a median sale price of $175,000.

But Mr Leslight said it would be difficult, even in today's soft market, to find a strata-titled property in Murwillumbah for that price.

“Good-quality units and townhouses in the Murwillumbah area were once fetching $330,000, but they wouldn't sell for that in today's market,” he said.

“Especially when developers like Metricon and Stockland are selling house and land packages for $345,000; people are going to see better value in buying a free-standing home than a unit.

“I know of a few unit sales for more than $300,000 in 2008, so that would have pushed the average price up, but the big increase would have come from the fact that there are very few strata-title developments in the area.

“At the moment we are finding that properties are selling within three months if they are set at the right price, and there are a few established properties that are selling for around the $300,000 to $350,000 mark.”

Fellow Murwillumbah agent Ray Cross from LJ Hooker agreed now was a good time to buy with sale activity at least 60 per cent lower from the end of 2008 to today, and then it was in 2007 when the property market was at its peak.

“Our figures don't reflect the data released by RP Data, because there are not a lot of units in the area,” he said.

“But it is still a good time to buy, with vendors lowering their expectation, and their prices, to meet the market expectation.”

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