The drought has not only parched the Tamworth region, but also the housing market with sales down by over 30 per cent on last year in the 2340 postcode as listings start to become rarer than green grass.
The Estate Agents Co-operative report showed that only 426 sales have been made in the postcode over the first six months of 2018, compared to a total of 1212 for the entire of 2017, and 1244 the previous year.
Meanwhile median house prices have bounced back from a slump of $279,000 in April 2018, to return to $330,000 in June, the same mark it was at 12 months earlier.
Capital growth has also dropped 3.3 per cent in the past 12 months, although remains strong at 5.4 per cent.
Ruralco Davidson, Cameron, McCulloch group manager Daniel McCulloch confirmed that it is not buyers but property that is in short supply and impacting the local market.
“We’ve had an amazing amount of people looking to buy, but just no new listings coming on to the market,” he said.
“While the drought is crippling a lot of people, there have been many others that have managed to improve the equity in their properties on the back of 24 months of consistently strong commodity prices such as wool and lambs.”
We’ve had an amazing amount of people looking to buy, but just no new listingsDaniel McCulloch
The ongoing Royal Commission into banking misconduct has also seen a crackdown on requirements for lending, making it harder for people to borrow money, while Mr McCulloch also said property owners are reluctant to advertise properties with photos showing the stark conditions.
“Successful operators still have money behind them, there are just no bargains about,” he said.
“When it does rain the properties will come back on the market – we are already making plans with owners waiting for the rain that are looking to sell or were planning on retiring anyway.
“There are certainly enough buyers to soak that up when it happens.”Meanwhile, in town, First National principal Dave Doherty is witnessing similar scenes.
“Listings are like gold at the moment,” he said.
“The acreage market of between one and fifty acres is heavily in demand, and East Tamworth is continually in demand, there are just not many new listings that are coming up at the moment that are realistically priced.”
“It is a cycle with numerous contributing factors, and the drought plays a part – we are expecting that it will pick up again.”
Managing Director of Professionals Tamworth John Oehlers believes that the booming and varied Tamworth industry combined with affordable housing prices will see the Tamworth market continue to thrive into the future.
“Of the last 100 houses we have sold 26 of them have been to owner-occupiers that are new to town,” he said.
“It feels like there is a bit of a buzz around Tamworth at the moment – I don’t know any other regional centre that would be performing as well.
“The drought has the potential to slow the market down, but we haven’t seen it yet.”