Some regional areas that boomed earlier in the pandemic are leading the regional downturn, said Dr Powell. IMAGE: Canva
Some regional areas that boomed earlier in the pandemic are leading the regional downturn, said Dr Powell. IMAGE: Canva
  • Only 15 properties are available for rent in the sought-after oceanside town
  • Celebrities and sea change trend have made Byron Bay very popular
  • House prices are back on the rise, with median above $1.3M

Good luck if you are trying to rent a property in Byron Bay. Looking on the various property websites, you can find perhaps 15 homes for rent.

Most of the available rentals are only 1 bedroom places yet are asking $700 a week. If you want a family home, perhaps 3 or 4 bedrooms, be prepared to stump up $1500 a week or more.

And that’s if you can secure it, of course. With reports of 50 people appearing at rental home opens, the situation has only become more desperate for locals.

Byron Bay has long been a fashionable place, well before Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon and Gemma Ward bought properties there.

One hour’s drive from the Gold Coast, and two hours south of Brisbane, the oceanside town is actually in New South Wales, not Queensland, even though it’s a mighty 8-hour drive north of Sydney.

With an aboriginal name of Cavvanbah, meaning ‘meeting place’, it took its current name from John Byron, who sailed into the bay in 1770 with Captain Cook.

Its early industry was timber, before mining, dairy cattle and fishing were added during the nineteenth century.

The most easterly point in Australia, with a bay providing both north and south-facing beaches, surfers began arriving en masse in the sixties. Byron Bay’s reputation as a laid back, hippie destination grew far and wide, with music festivals and backpackers flocking to the town.

Surfers Byron Bay
Surfers at Byron Bay. Photo – Canva.

Tourists and city dwellers started pouring in during the eighties, and since then it has become one of the most sought-after residential areas on the eastern seaboard.

The median house price rose above $1.2M in 2017, having increased $500K since 2013. Before Covid, two million tourists visited every year.

The pandemic taught us that we can work from home, and home can be anywhere. City folk began moving into the place as the sea change trend took hold in 2020.

In the town, there are just over 3,100 dwellings. With only 15 for rent currently, that equates to a vacancy rate of below 0.5%.

While house prices dipped to $1.1M in January 2020, they are now back up to $1.3M (February 2021, SQM Research.)

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