Investment in the mid north coast

Hi there.

I have just recently returned from a trip up the coast looking for a place to live and possibly invest.
I was wondering what peoples thoughts and opinions were on investment opportunities in the following places:

1. Taree/Old Bar: good rental return. Hospitals, 3 high schools. Capital growth prospect though? Masters hardware have just opened up a big new store in Taree and I know they do their homework. Bunnings moved in 5 years ago.
2. Ballina: West Ballina is more affordable than East and tend to offer better rental yields but again opportunity for capital growth?? Will the bypass help or hinder it's prospects, and how much pull does the airport have to the future of the place?
3. Forster: stunning beaches, good schools, younger crowd coming in. Prices been moving up. What growth industries can support it?
4. Tuncurry: more affordable than Forster and just across the water. If Forster is a sounds investment opportunity, would Tuncurry be even better?

Does anyone have investment properties in any of them? How are they performing?

How would you rank them in order of preference?

Any other areas you'd consider instead?

Your thoughts and suggesting would be warmly welcome.

Thanks in advance.
 
I lived on the far north coast (Goonellabah) for 24 years of my life so quite familiar with the area though it has been a few years since I have returned to the place I still call home.

I was talking to some friends who have just moved from Ballina to Cairns and they said it's like a ghost town now - so many empty shops in the main street and same for Ballina Fair. In the last floods the rivers were damaged badly and fishing has gone downhill which was a big drawcard for the area. There's not being done by the local council in terms of investing in the area either.

The historical growth stats leave a lot to be desired too where it seems a little all over the shop:

Ballina Ballina LGA
Period % Change % Change
2014 1.7% 1.4%
2013 5.3% -0.7%
2012 -8.1% -1.8%
2011 -5.8% -4.3%
2010 7.9% 5%
2009 7% 9.8%
2008 -5% -7.1%
2007 2.6% 11.1%
2006 0.5% 0.9%
2005 3.2% 4.1%

Not sure how much pull the airport would have as Coolangatta is not that far away and has plenty more options. The people I still know in the area who fly out always go to Coolangatta or Brisbane airports.

If I was looking for PPOR I would consider Ballina and the surrounds, if I was looking for IP I think there are much better places out there.
 
Thank you for that information. Much appreciated.

May I ask where else you would rather consider which is in a similar price bracket?

Again thanks. Anyone else's opinions on other areas would be great.
 
I'm in Forster right now for a holiday. I ocean swim for the week with an older group- all from elsewhere, all up here to retire. Town looks busy but it is peak holiday season though.

House prices are definitely on the move. I'd think single story duplex build close to town would go well - downsized for retirees but room for visitors and a caravan/boat. 600sqm old house close to town (as in 500 metres) are available in low $300k for such a project perhaps?

That said....I'm not seeing/hearing of any new industry etc up here.
 
I looked at Taree some time ago and like many people looking for a decent yield and low entry price was interested but couldn't see many real drivers for future growth with a ageing population as well.
 
I've just come back from Forster. We go up there a few times a year - family live there.
I can't see what will ever drive prices.
It looks like there was a bit a boom in the 70s/80s along the lake - lots of walk up flats were built then. The prices for those 70s/80s lakefront flats are great, but they haven't budged much for a long time.
Then in the 90s there were a few bigger buildings on the ocean front.
Within the last ten years, there have been a handful of good looking developments probably occupied by cashed up retirees.
Beats me. It is a beautiful spot. Too far from Sydney to benefit from price moves there, and no industry or anything like that. Lots of retirees, which doesn't help.
There are always lots of properties on the market when I drive around there.
With all those small coastal towns, I reckon you really need to be within a short walk of the water. Being 'just a 5 minute drive from the water' is great in Sydney, but not up there.
Tuncurry gets the dregs of Forster. I was talking to a bloke who bought a unit there for his son 25 years ago. He reckons it's worth less than he paid for it.

Scott
 
Again, thanks for your opinions. Very interesting.

I was also looking at Tinonee on the riverfront as an option as well.

Taree is one of the proposed stops on the high speed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane. Still a long way off of course from getting started (if it ever does of course!) but would become a growth factor surely?
 
I don't know Tinonee. I'm sure it's a nice place, but I have no idea whether it would be a good place to invest.
I keep toying with the idea of buying a flat on Little Street, Forster. We would use it ourselves a fair bit and rent it out during the peak holiday season.
It would make a loss every year and I would have little expectation of it increasing in value, but it is a place I can imagine myself spending more and more time in as the years pass. So it would be one of those dopey 'lifestyle investments'.

I can't ever imagine them building that train.

Scott
 
Again, thanks for your opinions. Very interesting.

I was also looking at Tinonee on the riverfront as an option as well.

Taree is one of the proposed stops on the high speed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane. Still a long way off of course from getting started (if it ever does of course!) but would become a growth factor surely?

Would you have a link/map of this proposed rail? I'm very interested in it. An inevitability - just a matter of when imo.
 
Thanks heaps for the link, hudbry.

I get confused with the talk of this line and the talk of the Melbourne - Parkes - Brisbane connection that's also being proposed. Are they different or interchangeable discussions? Does anyone know?
 
Have been watching Froster/Tuncurry for many years, even had a few inspections
but the return is not there , you occasionally find a cash-flow positive property
in the low end range but not very often and usually snapped up quick.
Like a lot of other area's there are some area's around Forster you need to do your homework on.
One of the new high rise had many issues a few years back but should be fixed
by now but I still see the same units for sale.
 
The section of the pacific highway between woolgoolga and ballina is currently out to tender. It is a 4 billion plus project that will need thousands of workers and will be built over the next few years. Funding is secured. Short term prospects are good. Ballina is a nice place but I thought it was quite expensive as an investment opportunity.
 
The section of the pacific highway between woolgoolga and ballina is currently out to tender. It is a 4 billion plus project that will need thousands of workers and will be built over the next few years. Funding is secured. Short term prospects are good. Ballina is a nice place but I thought it was quite expensive as an investment opportunity.

Interesting- I didn't know this. I love driving over the lovely hills of Ballina on our way to QLD- always lush and beautifully peaceful-looking.... a BA colleague of mine who works there reckons it's the best place to live, but I'm still a city girl at heart :)
 
Keep an eye on rates if you do seriously look - around Hastings it's about $2400 a year for an urban block or $1400 for rural unserviced. We rent - we'll happily buy metro and rent here - there's a bit of a cap on rents as well as local wages are much lower than city
 
I'm from Forster and have an IP there (was originally PPOR). The market declined a few years ago and remained flat for a while, however it is on the move again, at a slow pace, so I would say 2014 would have been a good year to buy. Days on market are reducing and houses in the bottom and top of market seem to be selling.

The town is a retirement haven. I've seen stats that have it as the oldest average age population for NSW. It also relies on tourism which is a key factor for the local economy. In saying this if you want to buy an IP there look at something that appeals to these two factors. For the retired couple buying they would want space for vans and boats, mostly flat blocks so as to avoid stairs, room for the family to visit etc. Tourists want apartments or beach houses.

You can get decent cash flow but CG moves at the pace of the majority of the people living in the town ;) My IP is CF+ but I probably couldn't sell it for what I paid 6 years ago. There are some good deals around if you have the knowledge e.g. Purchase 3+1+2 house in Jan this year for 290k and renting 400/w after a 10k repair/freshen up (with +80k equity gain in 4 weeks) or 2+1+1 unit in Tuncurry for 200k, 15k reno and rent 320/w

If you want to look for somewhere to live it depends on your lifestyle, I'd say aim for One Mile beach area, east of Boundary St. Be careful areas from Likely st to the lake...
 
I would suggest that Taree/ Forster area is Lower North Coast. The Mid North Coast commencing at Port Macquarie and stretching north to Grafton. The Upper North Coast from Grafton to The Tweed.
A lot of towns are small in size with population generally being retirees. Very limited industry and employment opportunities.
We have 2 IP's in the region. 1 at Sawtell and 1 at Urunga. Both owned outright, so cashflow is handy. Capital growth has been stagnant for years.
Whilst there are upgrades occurring at present to the Highway, once projects are completed workers who are now renting in the area will move on to be able to continue working.
It is a beautiful area to live with pristine beaches, ideal climate and impressive surrounds. It certainly wouldn't be an area I would consider for an IP unless you are after only cash flow and not CG's. I think you would need it to be CF+ from day 1 also to be a winner.
 
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