SHOCKING: Byron Bay resident Skye De'ville is angry at the skyrocketing prices of rentals in the Byron Shire, which he says is forcing long-term locals out of town.
SHOCKING: Byron Bay resident Skye De'ville is angry at the skyrocketing prices of rentals in the Byron Shire, which he says is forcing long-term locals out of town.

Crazy coastal rental prices ‘a shocking sign of the times’

BYRON Bay resident Skye De'ville almost fell off his chair when he stumbled upon a rental listing for $4250 near Wategos Beach.

Located near the top of Brownell Drive, near the Byron Bay Lighthouse, the Realestate.com listing for "the ultimate luxury lifestyle property" at Wategos was described as "a spectacular, two-storey architect designed beach house with framed ocean views, featuring four bedrooms, three bathrooms, brand-new, finished with swimming pool and double carport".

But Mr De'ville wasn't buying it.

"How is this over $4000 a week?" he said.

"It doesn't even have special features … how are the people of Byron standing there and accepting this crazy pricing.

"It's bloody ridiculous - this alternative culture coastal town well-known for its vegan foods, hippies, surfers and backpackers has turned into the new coastal Sydney - I'm ashamed to say I live in Byron."

The disability worker said the real issue was that many locals were being forced to leave town as rental prices continued to skyrocket.

"Goodbye to the good local people who were born here, raised here," she said.

"People who knew Byron since the 70s, are being forced out of their town … this influx of Sydney folk is driving the rental market crazy and are driving us out at a fast pace.

"I've seen locals in tears as they pack their cars to move two hours away, while the new owner of the house from Sydney decides to Airbnb it out and live luxurious lifestyles off the proceedings.

"They don't work, they don't contribute, they just ask crazy prices. It's time for the people to stand up against this, no more Airbnb."

Another "boutique" three-bedroom property for rent in Newrybar in the Ballina Shire, currently listed on Realestate.com, is fetching a rental price of $1800 per week.

CoreLogic's head of Australian research Eliza Owen said high-end property owners were "taking advantage" and "getting away" with the asking exorbitant prices because the demand for lifestyle properties in the Ballina, Byron areas was among the strongest in the state.

"I think these prices are shocking, personally," Ms Owen said.

"They appeal to high-earning tenants who may find it more convenient to rent a property than to buy at the time.

"The actual rental prices is a reflection of what someone is willing to pay to rent a property in a point in time. We've seen that in the likes of holiday celebrities who holiday and live in the areas, who also drive even more demand through their cultural influence."

With annualised growth in rental costs for the Richmond-Tweed coastal areas steadily rising over the past five years, Ms Owen said the growing trend of boutique properties in Ballina and Byron Bay was clearly reflected in the rental growth of the area.

"That growth rate has been 2.3 per cent, which is really strong," she said.

"To put that in perspective, the annualised growth across regional New South Wales is about 1.9 per cent and in Sydney its 0.5 of a per cent.

"The Ballina-Byron region is in really strong demand and we've seen property owners take advantage of that in terms of upgrading property and utilising that as an opportunity to target the high end of the rental market. That's spills into the Airbnb market too."

She said the increase in rental prices were a reflection in a change of demographic to the area.

"It's not shocking for locals any more, but I think it would be disappointing to locals who have lived in the area prior to that demographic shift," she said.

"A market like Byron, and parts of Ballina, may also see the supply of rentals crowded out by short term accommodation from holiday makers, which could stir the upward pressure on rental prices because you have a limited supply of longer term rentals."

She said population growth as well as return on investment on a rental would also be putting upward pressure on rental prices.

"These high-end properties are targeted at a niche group of people on high incomes that can service these kinds of high rents."

She said rental estimates for the high-end of the market in the Richmond-Tweed coastal areas were sitting up at around $925, meaning rent prices like $1800 would be "close to the top of the market".

"Our median sales value for houses in the Byron Bay area, is about $1.3 million - which in terms of making that an investment - illuminates why rents are so high because investors are looking for a return on those prices."

The rental data for Richmond-Tweed Coastal houses are as follows:

Median estimated rent value for houses: $629 per week

Change in price (5 years): 21%, or 3.8% a year

Change in price (10 years): 58%, or 4.7% a year

Median asking rent for houses in Newrybar, is $850.


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