Home' API Magazine : October 2014 Contents OCTOBER 2014 n APIMAGAZINE.COM.AU n 83
and you’ll get bang for your buck, as
well as spectacular mountain views.
It’s always slightly colder in the
mountains but the market is now
Edwards believes Katoomba has
two main things going for it. Firstly,
its affordability, and secondly, its
distance to Sydney. Sure it’s far, but
it’s still achievable to commute from
the mountains to the city each day.
Although you definitely wouldn’t
be able to sleep in if you plan to get to work
Residex data shows there was a market lull
before the mad property race. The median
house price in Katoomba reached $356,000
in May 2011. It then fell to $330,000 in June
2012 and got down to $329,000 in April
2013. Real estate valuer Graham Veitch
witnessed people sell and lose money after
the massive high of 2003. No one ever
thought the 2003 boom could be repeated
but, exactly 10 years later, it did. The market
turned, as interest rates dropped and
investors and homebuyers became priced out
of the Sydney frenzy, forcing them to search
among the affordable and beautiful bushland.
And didn’t they find it. The market is now
so hot that capital growth increased by 8.58
per cent in just three months, making it one
of the best performing areas in the country.
“From April 2013, prices started to rise,”
“Since that time it’s continually risen in
value, until last month, where it slipped
backed a little bit. It sat around $330,000
for about five months and in September last
year, property values started to increase in
value, to $340,000. Today the median value is
Families from the Lower North Shore and
eastern suburbs often moved to the Blue
Mountains in the past. Then buyers upgraded
from the lower part of the mountains to
the higher end. But these days, it’s mostly
families from the west and also inner west
of Sydney who are moving, in search of
affordability, fresh air and some room to
plant and smell the roses.
“ The inner west is now definitely a core
area,” Veitch says.
“Because we’re on the same train route, they
can live here and go to Sydney for a couple of
days. People from Glebe, Petersham, Balmain
are coming. Some without kids, but it’s all
different groups of society.”
Veitch has never seen property sell so
quickly. In most cases, buyers have given
up searching in Sydney and already have
finance approved. The Blue Mountains seem
like a bargain so buyers are pouncing. The
mountains are also considered to be artistic
and over time that’s making this area more
trendy and uber cool.
“In Heath Street, for example, there are
four artists in the one street and that’s their
income,” Veitch says.
“Properties are going on the market and
selling in a very quick time.”
Ebzery adds a whole range of buyers are
moving to the Blue Mountains. Retirees are
downsizing, families are attracted to bigger
blocks, and first homebuyers are finding
some relief, because they can actually obtain
a home among the gum trees.
“ There’s a big 25 to 35-year age group,”
“You can pay half a million bucks for a
property that needs a lot of work in western
Sydney. Up here, $500,000 gets you whatever
The Blue Mountains doesn’t have the same
crime rate as Sydney’s west and it doesn’t
have a stigma either. The most popular
streets are in Katoomba, near the Three
Sisters. Homes that are listed in three well-
known streets, Darley, Martin and Stephen,
are always sold quickly and are tightly held.
Ebzery recently sold a property in Martin
Street for $425,000, after it was passed in at
auction for $290,000. That’s the sort of price
people are willing to pay to get into these
premium streets, he says, because investors
see it as a long-term investment, and cheap
in comparison to Sydney.
“A lot of people stay there for years,” he
says. “If you get properties on Darley Street,
Martin Street or Stephen Street, they don’t
take long to sell. Those streets have character
weatherboards and that old Katoomba feel
about them. They’re really nice homes and it’s
a quick walk to town.
“ That’s where you get a lot of people saying
‘if anything comes up in that location, let me
know’. You have to be ready to rock and roll
when something does come up.”
Blue-chip Leura has always been more
expensive and harder to get into.
Prices in this stunning part of the Blue
Mountains have increased by more than
10 per cent over the past 12 months and an
KATOOMBA FACT SHEET
Katoomba has a low supply to demand
situation. There are few rental properties
available to tenants and there’s an
undersupply of for sale listings. Discounting
has been muted. Incomes in Katoomba are
growing slightly faster than the New South
Wales average. The proportion of renters to
owner-occupiers is above average for New
South Wales. Rental vacancy rates are a
tight 1.9 per cent. Stock for sale levels are
down by 20.6 per cent year on year.
Source: SQM Research, www.sqmresearch.com.au (accurate to June, 2014)
f Property boom.
f Proximity to Sydney.
f Larger blocks.
WALK SCORE6: 50
Katoomba is the most walkable
neighbourhood in the Blue Mountains.
There are about 54 restaurants, bars and
coffee shops in Katoomba.
People in Katoomba can walk to an
average of 0.2 restaurants, bars and
coffee shops in five minutes.
n Mortgage holders
n Separate house (2199)
row or terrace house,
townhouse etc (2113)
n Flat, unit or
n Other dwelling (21)
10-YEAR AVERAGE ANNUAL GROWTH5
Katoomba high street
New South Wales n THE STATES
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