1 May 2024

Illawarra house prices top quarterly regional NSW growth

| Dione David
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An aerial view of the site of the new Shellharbour Hospital.

Boosting supply is a big piece of the property affordability puzzle, which experts say must include prioritisation of more key worker housing in the planning of large employment hubs and precincts like the Shellharbour Hospital. Photo: Health Infrastructure.

The latest PropTrack Home Price Index has revealed more good news for house values in the Illawarra, but no relief for those scouring the market for affordable housing.

The report found that home prices in regional NSW rose 0.50 per cent month-on-month to a fresh peak, 4.25 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Since March 2020, prices have increased by 52.9 per cent in regional NSW, compared to 35.5 per cent in Sydney.

House Price Index data for all Illawarra dwellings show quarterly price growth of 2.41 per cent and yearly price growth of 5.83 per cent.

The data placed the Illawarra at the top of quarterly growth in regional NSW, according to REA Group senior economist Eleanor Creagh.

“Home prices in the Illawarra region have lifted 5.83 per cent since April 2023, making it one of the top performing markets within regional NSW over the past year,” she said.

“This strong growth has continued in 2024 and over the past quarter prices have risen 2.41 per cent, the strongest pace of quarterly growth of any market in regional NSW.”

READ ALSO New $5 million affordable housing program set to benefit the Illawarra community for decades

While good news for property values, the data indicates a grim trend for housing affordability in the region, yet the Illawarra remains a tempting prospect for Sydneysiders.

“Housing affordability has deteriorated significantly as interest rates remain high while prices have continued to lift,” Ms Creagh said.

“With home prices in Sydney having climbed at a fast pace over the past year, and median values sitting above $1,000,000, some buyers may be looking to take advantage of the relative affordability of homes in the Illawarra region, particularly those in commuting distance to Sydney.”

READ ALSO Dunmore paddocks cleared and ready for work to start on new Shellharbour Hospital

Property Council Illawarra regional director Michelle Guido said while the persistent housing affordability crisis was a “major pinch point” for the Illawarra community, help was on the way.

“There’s a lot of work happening in the NSW Government to bring forward some significant reforms in planning and development to try and boost housing supplies, and that’s critical,” she said.

“If we can boost supplies, there’s more availability for people in our local community, and we hope that would balance prices.”

It comes as the NSW Government pushes ahead with its Transport Orientated Development (TOD) program, which rezones locations near tram and train lines for residential development. In the Illawarra, the first cab off the rank is Corrimal.

Ms Guido said while it was one important “piece of the puzzle”, there was a lot of work ahead.

“We’ll need to take a multipronged approach with a lot of options for boosting housing, and that will include ensuring approvals are getting through councils and the NSW Department of Planning, so there are no delays on these housing projects and large releases of land,” she said.

“We’d also love to see key worker housing as a bigger focus for the NSW Government, particularly around some of the large employment hubs and precincts. For example, for the Shellharbour Hospital being built in the next few years, we’d like to see key worker housing as a priority in the planning.”

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