Yass Valley house prices jump 24.5 per cent in 12 months

RECORD: Yass Valley's average house price jumped 24.5 per cent from $480,000 to $597,500 between September 2018-19, according to Domain's latest House Price Report. Photo: An aerial view of Yass town, FILE.
RECORD: Yass Valley's average house price jumped 24.5 per cent from $480,000 to $597,500 between September 2018-19, according to Domain's latest House Price Report. Photo: An aerial view of Yass town, FILE.

The average house price in Yass Valley has grown more in a single year than any other regional area in New South Wales.

While that's welcome news for existing home owners, it has the potential to push first-home buyers out of the local market.

Yass Valley's average house price jumped 24.5 per cent from $480,000 to $597,500 between September 2018-19, according to Domain's latest House Price Report.

Local house prices have also been among the fastest-growing in regional NSW in the past five years, rising 41.9 per cent in that period.

It comes down to the regional lifestyle on offer here and the region's proximity to Canberra, Ray White Rural Yass licensed real estate agent George Southwell said.

Newcomers to Yass Valley are no longer only moving from Canberra either, Mr Southwell said.

"Most recently we have seen a trend with lifestyle properties where people are skipping the Highlands and buying further down the highway," he said.

Local house prices will only increase further because of this, Mr Southwell said.

"For a town under an hour from the centre of our democracy, we can still buy a brick home for $400,000. I don't think based on these figures that is going to last for long!"

However, for first-time home buyers like Gabby and Sam Lucas, the rising prices could push them out of the market.

"Sam and I were born and raised in country towns and after experiencing the city life we both agreed that we would never be able to beat a country lifestyle and a friendly community," Mrs Lucas said.

"I now work in Yass, which really cemented the idea that we wanted to buy and settle down here. The community and town remind me a lot of where I grew up."

The couple lives in Canberra and is wanting to buy in Yass.

"We're concerned. It's always a little harder as a first-home buyer getting into the market, but now there is the added stress that if we don't find something soon we might be completely priced out and we won't be able to buy in Yass at all," Mrs Lucas said.

"We've been told by some to buy an old house and renovate and others have said buying a block and building within our budget is best. At the moment, we're exploring all of our options and doing our research to make sure that whatever we decide on will give us the best value for money."

Mr Southwell's advice is to "buy while you can".

"First-home buyers need to ensure that they have finance ready for when they decide to buy, otherwise they may be disappointed and miss out," he said.

For those looking to renovate, Yass Valley Property co-owner and licensed real estate agent Andrew Curlewis said, "the market loves older homes that are done up well."

"If you do up a home that you're living in, you can renovate after work and get mates to help you," he said.

However, for existing home-owners in Yass Valley, news of house prices rising was welcomed.

Nikkii Reynolds and her partner Iain moved from Canberra to Yass in September 2018.

She said they knew local house prices were rising but that made moving "more appealing".

"We've done some minor improvements to our property in the past 12 months, so that paired with the news of house prices rising 24.5 per cent is certainly welcomed news!"

The first-home buyers wanted to raise their children on a "decent-sized block" and were encouraged by in-laws who moved to the town and "had nothing but great things to say", Ms Reynolds said.

"Everything in Canberra nowadays is a tissue box with no yard and you pay a ridiculous price for it," she said.

Ms Reynolds and her partner still work in Canberra but say the commute "is really straight forward and wasn't something that bothered us."

First-home buyers can also apply for the government's First Home Loan Deposit Scheme from January 1, 2020.

The scheme will allow first-home buyers on low and middle incomes to purchase a home with a deposit of 5 per cent. However, first-home buyers should get in quick as the scheme will only support the first 10,000 who apply each financial year.

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