Griffith housing prices have increased by a whopping 64.6 per cent over the past five years, according to data from Domain’s latest quarterly house price report.
Property inflation in Griffith has outstripped growth in almost all other major inland regional NSW towns including Albury, Wagga, Bathurst, Broken Hill, Parkes, Cowra and Dubbo. Only Orange, with a 97 per cent increase since 2017, has experienced faster growth.
Elders Real Estate agent Brendan Catanzariti says a chronic shortage of land for housing development is partly fuelling Griffith’s price surge.
“We’re also on the back of a wheat boom, almonds and cotton are going strong, that’s also had an impact on price,” he says.
“But there simply aren’t many properties on the market, so there’s not much choice for buyers.
“People are sitting tight and not selling, even though they can get exceptional prices. The thing is if you do sell, you’ve just got to buy somewhere else in a booming market.”
Elders Real Estate’s Joseph Poli says there are currently more real estate agents in Griffith than there are houses for sale, leading to fierce competition and upward pressure on prices.
While rising property prices are good news for investors, the signs remain ominous for young people and first home buyers.
The NSW Government’s plan to phase out stamp duty and replace it with land tax is partly aimed at improving housing affordability by reducing the up-front cost of house purchases.
Under the proposal, prospective buyers will be given the choice of either paying stamp duty upfront or a small percentage of the property’s value annually as a land tax.
Mr Catanzariti doubts the reform will have the intended impact.
“For one, I don’t think the government’s proposal will get passed in parliament,” he says.
“But if it does, home buyers will have to pay more, overall, when there’s a land tax, as the cost goes on and on.
“Once a buyer opts for land tax over stamp duty, you can’t go back; the next buyer will have to pay that tax forever.”
As grim as the situation is for homebuyers, the group most disadvantaged by the current property boom is prospective renters. According to real estate investar, more than 99 per cent of all Griffith homes for rent are currently occupied.
There were just 25 properties advertised for rent in Griffith on the Domain website as of Wednesday 27 July, only one of which cost less than $300 per week.
Theresa Foley of the Sisters of Mercy says things are getting worse and worse for renters.
“We hear of a lot of people in desperate need,” she says.
“People are having to live in caravan parks but even they are costing more than houses.”
The Sisters of Mercy are trying to partner with the St Vincent de Paul Society to build affordable housing in Griffith. So far they have not had much success securing funding.
“The situation with the floods on the coast means they are the priority,” Ms Foley says.
“We are well down the line.”