STEP BY STEP: The new Grafton Bridge is slowly beginning to take shape.
STEP BY STEP: The new Grafton Bridge is slowly beginning to take shape. Stephen Ward

Grafton the ultimate lifestyle destination?

THE Grafton real estate market has something in it for everyone, but the most important thing is the lifestyle of the area.

McKimms principal Angus McKimm said that what they were seeing was people coming to the area not just for work, but to stay and live in a place that offers a lot.

"People are identifying Grafton as a lifestyle destination," he said.

"We have mild winters, glorious summers and you live within 45 minutes of nine beaches.

"Add to that Australia's largest whitewater trail, hiking, camping and fishing options, we're now seeing people not just coming here for a job, but to improve their lifestyle."

Mr McKimm said that the improved proximity to the Gold Coast and Brisbane, and major non-metropolitan areas such as Coffs Harbour, opened up the options for people in town.

He said while there had been sustained growth in the market over the past years, Grafton was still seen as an affordable option within the Clarence Valley.

"For $300,000 you can look at being in town in a nice family home, have access to state and private schools, nearby tertiary options in Lismore, Coffs and even Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and have easy access to both specialty shops," he said.

"It's still an affordable place, and Grafton really is the bread and butter of the Clarence Valley."

Mr McKimm said the town was very much built around a family lifestyle, with the biggest age groups being children under 15, followed by their parents.

"It's not a town that's at the mercy of the speculators or big players, it's mums and days, and the town is very much attuned to them."

Despite this, Mr McKimm said there were excellent opportunities for investors in the town, with year-round rental income make investing a safer bet.

"The rental market is very strong, and it's been like that for twenty years," he said. "Unlike metro or coastal markets, you can get a rental income for 50-52 weeks a year, our length of tenancy has increased dramatically to just more than three years, and for us it's not unusual dealing with renters for 10-12 years plus.

"Investors are saying that Grafton costs less, returns more and returns it more safely."

Mr McKimm also said a revival in the commercial market, which had recently sprung to life, only painted a good picture on the horizon.

"I don't have any sort of pessimism over the next five to six years, even after the capital works finish," he said.

"We've got so much happening and and advantageous's all starting to come together for Grafton."