Displaying items by tag: Byron Bay

Bangalow Real Estate

Just 10 minutes inland from Byron Bay is the charming heritage town of Bangalow. Bangalow has had the good sense to retain all of its original colonial architecture. Its main street is lined by ornate wrought iron railings and interesting shops. It is popular with tourists who come for a drive, park shop and eat lunch at one of the many restaurants.

In the rolling green hills surrounding Bangalow are interesting and sought after hamelts where people like to buy rural properties and settle down and enjoy life. Places like Possum Creek, Coopers Shoot, Fernleigh, Eureka and Federal.

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Talking to a Local: Mayor Simon Richardson

1. If you were re-elected, what would be the top three big-ticket items you want to accomplish?

  1. 10-year Action Plans in place and investment and action flowing and being monitored as part of the “Zero Emissions Byron” project-across waste, building, energy, land use and transport. This could unlock millions of dollars in funding and investment in renewables, a circular waste economy, massive tree planting investments etc.  And huge employment opportunities.
  2. Establishing affordable housing examples that can be scaled-up across the shire and used nationally to break the structural impediments to affordable housing. Using flat pack, fully sustainable and off-grid housing on council land and focused around agriculture and creative industries type work. This would support housing, employment and community needs.

3.   Being a part of a renewed, collective, unified push for transport options within the rail corridor.

2. What do you think are our three biggest problems?

Housing affordability, development pressures, lack of funds. Locals living, working and moving in the shire.

3. I have heard you say that you want to “get out of the trenches” and stop so much polarity. How do you think this can be achieved?

First, respecting difference, then, connecting through mutual values rather than opinions, providing options so that many different people can see benefits (not just a winner takes all), and finally, trusting in the skills and expertise and commitment of our community.

Up until the Rose betrayal we were on our way and so many saw that council was worth taking a risk on. We focused hard on providing a space where people could share their views and re-engage with community projects and it was really starting to happen. The Masterplan was an incredible, award winning example. Unfortunately, if after you ask people to take a risk and leave their trenches, you start throwing bombs, they have to retreat. It was a tragic outcome of the disappointing lack of respect for community wishes.

4. A criticism of your time as mayor is that you try to be all things to all people and like to avoid conflict. Do you think this is fair?

No, I simply try and match people with ideas and people with the capacity to help make them happen. I also believe most people want to try and help the shire, so I take them on face value and try to bring them into the change-making fold. Of course, those who have defined themselves by war, and their ability to throw rocks or beat their enemy, will view any attempt at peace and connecting as somehow weak. 

 

5. Another criticism is that the council has been Byron-centric. Is there an opportunity to spread the growth and potential to other towns?

Just ask someone from Byron. They think we are too Bangalow, or Mullum-centric! Obviously, Byron is the economic driver for the whole shire, so a healthy Byron helps make a healthy shire and of course, we need to make our welcoming pad as nice as possible: for us and for visitors. There are huge opportunities for growth and potential elsewhere. Our agricultural lands hold amazing potential for small acre farming and innovative farming methods and crops. Mullum continues to grow, and we need to have our hands on the wheel to make sure we are in control of the change, not just reacting to it.  We have Masterplan ideas for Ocean Shores, Mullum and Bangalow and will continue to focus on bringing the community together to work out the best way to enhance its streets. I live in the hinterland and so love and appreciate all parts of the shire, I think more of us could benefit from stepping back and appreciating the amazing place we all live in and work towards great outcomes, wherever they occur. 

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Market Wrap Up - August 2016

Market update

No sign of winter doldrums with the weather, or the property market, in Byron Shire this month. Most properties going to auction are selling beforehand and there is a high demand for new stock. I have no stats for local auctions, but Sydney for example, had an auction clearance rate last weekend of 80.4% for close to 500 properties. This is still very high. Sought after locations like Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay see no sign of a slow down as yet.

Some clients and other pundits are saying it must be time for an easing and prices should start to start coming off. No one wants to enter a market at the crest. Commentators are predicting a consoladation rather than a rapid drop. Good properties in sought after locations are now in such high demand they are often insulated against major fluctuations. 

Master Plan wins award

It was an interesting experience observing the progress of the Byron Masterplan. I was really happy to hear that it was nominated, and then the Australia Institute of Landscape Architects gave it the State Award in the Communities category. The lesson here was how to successfully navigate community consultation and how to make major decisions in a highly contested area, like we have in Byron Shire. 

OS buyers have identity problems

International ex-pats and non-resident buyers have been caught up in ASIC’s latest move to stop Chinese speculators. The new "Verification Of Identity" requirements by the banks require OS buyers to jump through many hoops to prove they are a real person. The move comes after regulators and ASIC found fraudulent loan applications of Chinese mainlanders fabricating identity and loan documents in order to expatriate funds. 

The new requirements, although necessary, may be heavy-handed. In some jurisdictions a loan application will need to be filled out in front of a consular official. There is currently a 3-month delay for finance approvals if you are a resident of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the move disadvantages all overseas buyers and not just the culprits.

Byron Trails Launched

Get off the couch and get out and about (memo to self). It is time you start to explore our beautiful hinterland and rainforest. A friend of mine, Mairéad Cleary, has done a great job collating all the good bush walks in our region. It is available online for $40 if you google Byron Trails or at better local bookstores. 

Interest Rates drop

The RBA were in conundrum on what to do with interest rates this month. They want to stimulate the economy but do not want to drive up housing prices. They want to bring down the Australian dollar but not go into a deflationary cycle. In the end they decided to lower it to the historically low rate of 1.5%. The banks have decided to pass on half of that cut and we may see a 0.13% reduction passed on to our mortgage payments.

Please see the related article "Interest Rates for Dummies" where I have gone into more detail about this decision and the affects low interest rates have on property and much more.

My trip to Melbourne

I love Melbourne and just spent three days there attending the REBAA (Real Estate Buyers Agent Association) conference. REBAA is the national guild for professional, exclusive buyers agents in Australia. Our main aim is to educate the public in the difference between a fully trained and licenced BA and someone who just calls themselves that. At the moment there is no barrier to entry in the industry and licencing is very light. If you know anyone thinking of using a BA make sure they contact a REBAAA buyers agent. 

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