House hunters queue outside a home in Robert Garrett St, Coffs Harbour. With few houses on the market and a growing number of people looking to relocate to the region, prices are rising as people look to outbid one another. Photo: Tim Jarrett
House hunters queue outside a home in Robert Garrett St, Coffs Harbour. With few houses on the market and a growing number of people looking to relocate to the region, prices are rising as people look to outbid one another. Photo: Tim Jarrett

‘Just not enough’: Housing squeeze hits home buyers

3 Robert Garrett St is your average Coffs Harbour home, but the attention it attracted was anything but.

In a sign of how hot the property market is at the moment, almost 100 people walked through this humble three bedroom home on Saturday, the most Florent and Mundey’s Yvette Ward had seen in a long time.

Just minutes after it was opened to the public there was a queue of people made to wait at the door so as not to overcrowd the property.

Prospective buyers also reported having to line up down the street at another open home on the same day in Coffs Harbour’s east.

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Ms Ward attributed the increased interest to a variety of factors – the number of people looking to make the Coffs Coast their home and the growing number of first-home buyers looking to get into the market.

And of course 3 Robert Garrett St’s price guide of $495,000 to $525,0000 meant it was a “happy medium” for many.

However, a lack of properties on the market has been making the situation “good for owners, but not so great for buyers” with homes now commonly going for around $20,000 above asking price.

House hunters queue outside a home in Robert Garrett St, Coffs Harbour. With few houses on the market and a growing number of people looking to relocate to the region, prices are rising as people look to outbid one another. Photo: Tim Jarrett
House hunters queue outside a home in Robert Garrett St, Coffs Harbour. With few houses on the market and a growing number of people looking to relocate to the region, prices are rising as people look to outbid one another. Photo: Tim Jarrett

“There is just not enough on the market to satisfy everyone that is looking,” Ms Ward said.

“It has been like that for quite few months and rentals are comparable.

“I had a few (sales) over the Christmas period in the Boambee and Toormina area (which) went $20-$25,000 higher because of people putting in higher offers and blowing people out of the water.”

The flow on effects from changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic are being felt in the property market, with both rents and house prices ballooning in the past six months.

Back in November REA Group released data showing the value of properties in the Coffs Harbour – Grafton area rose 8.7 per cent, the second highest quarter on quarter change in the Australia.

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently revealed the number of owner occupier first homebuyer loan commitments rose nearly 10 per cent in December last year, a 56.6 per cent rise on 2019 levels.

While government incentives have been credited with driving change, there is now anecdotal evidence investors previously put off by economic uncertainty are regaining confidence and looking to buy.

Despite this meaning the hot market won’t be cooling anytime soon, there is some good news for those looking to buy their first home with investors less likely to enter into a bidding war.

Ms Ward said it was people who “fell in love” with a home to live in that tended to spend more and prospective buyers should make contact with real estate agents and give them their “wishlist”.

“If you know what people are looking for and (they) are known to the agent we might be able to marry something up quite quickly without going to market,” she said.

“It depends on the owners.”