Unit prices rise 63pc

THE heat is on the Murwillumbah property market where unit prices have increased by more than 63 per cent in the past year, according to recent figures, and a number of developers are sniffing out opportunities to build apartment complexes in the CBD.

The figures, complied by Colliers International on the Gold Coast, reveal 18 unit sales in Murwillumbah in March 2008 fetched a median price of $128,500.

This year 11 unit sales have been recorded in the Murwillumbah are and the median sale price has crept up to $210,000.

The figures place Murwillumbah at the top of the league table for unit price growth in the period, thrashing Currumbin with 9.1 per cent; Elanora at 6.6 per cent; Bilinga at 2.7 per cent and Tweed Heads South, which saw median values increase by 1.5 per cent from $342,000 to $347,000.

While Murwillumbah Elders agent Helen Flynn agreed more buyers were interested in buying a unit in the town, she said the figures were deceptive as they included a number of sales for retirement units which fetched a lower price than residential ones.

“The real price buyers should expect to pay for a residential unit is from $340,000 to $370,000, which is comparable to existing house prices in the area,” Ms Flynn said.

“But the benefit of owning a residential unit in Murwillumbah is that most of them are built either in the CBD or just outside it, and a lot more people are looking for units so they can be close to the shops and restaurants, or they don't want the trouble of yard or building maintenance.

“The limited supply of units in the Murwillumbah area also helps to push up prices, because there is never many on the market at any one time.”

One of the only units on the market in the area and listed by Elders is a riverside, pre-war, Federation-style three-bedroom with enclosed sunroom apartment, which had been in the same family for 60 years and is listed for $340,000.

“Things have recovered very quickly from the low point about eight months ago, and people are realising that the cycle is on its way up,” Ms Flynn said.

The number of units in the CBD may soon be on the rise, with the majority of the land in the CBD suitable for medium-density development.

“A few developers are at present identifying opportunities to expand the number of strata units in town,” she said.

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