News / Community / Business / 18th February 2021
Real estate in demand
Coonabarabran real estate has become hot property as people say farewell to the big smoke and head to regional areas.
In what seems to be a drive to the west, real estate sales have jumped by almost half in Coonabarabran.
Nutrien Harcourts Davidson Cameron and Co Coonabarabran manager, Jane McWhirter, said the increase in sales and enquires had been noticeable in the past six months.
In fact, Mrs McWhirter has had to increase the hours of her casual work pool to cope with demand.
“We have seen about a 30-40 per cent increase in sales and easily a 50 per cent increase on enquiries,” Mrs McWhirter said.
“We have been absolutely flat out - it really has been as busy as I’ve ever seen it!”
Mrs McWhirter said there were a number of factors at play to cause the increase.
A move away from larger cities thanks to COVID-19, the transient nature of the workforce in town, an ageing population, the easing of the drought and low interest rates have all played a part.
However, Mrs McWhirter said people were still suffering from the effects of the drought.
“The season we’ve had should start to make things good again,” she said.
“The transient nature of the workforce with the likes of the police and Cooinda also makes for more of a turn over in real estate, with people coming and going all the time.
“But also as the elderly move into Cooinda or move away closer to medical services, their homes are becoming empty and up for sale.”
While Mrs McWhirter doesn’t see an explosion in population for Coonabarabran in the near future, she instead believes it will become a “more stable country town”.
“I didn’t expect the interest to last, but it is apparent that we are still getting a lot of interest in our real estate market, even to date.”
“We won’t grow too much; there’s not much land to develop and we don’t have any real major industry in town to attract the workers.”
As a result, she said she expects interest in Coonabarabran to slow down in 2021.
“We just can’t sustain this kind of growth. I don’t think it will last,” she admitted.
But Mrs McWhirter said more could be done to promote the town and its tourist attractions.
“Tourism is the biggest aspect of town with the likes of the observatory and other attractions.
“It would be nice for Council’s tourism department to liaise more with the business community of Coonabarabran to promote the town.”
Binnaway real estate agent, Larry Tolmie has also benefited from the sudden interest in the area.
He said more recently his buyers have come from the likes of the Central Coast, the Hunter Valley and the
outskirts of Sydney. “They mainly say they want to get away from the craziness of the city and lately it’s been because of COVID-19 as well,” he said.
Mr Tolmie said the attraction of Binnaway to outsiders is the value for money, while still having just about everything they need in town.
“Nearly everything you need is available here and if they need a hospital, Coonabarabran Hospital is only 38 kilometres away.
“And people can sell their homes on the Central Coast or Sydney, buy a house here and live comfortably.”
Mr Tolmie’s biggest issue is the lack of homes to sell.
“We get phone calls all the time looking for something in particular, so there’s been times where houses haven’t even been listed on the market and I’ll go around and entice owners to sell.
"I’ve sold a few that way.”