Local knowledge: Five insights to help demystify the Illawarra property market

By Laurence Morgan

Knowing the ebbs and flows of the Illawarra property market can help you make one of the biggest decisions in your life, and come out the other side with a smile on your face. 

Every suburb on the Coal Coast has its own character and profile. Whether it’s access to beaches, the local cafe scene, schools, and more, our real estate agents know what can make one location more desirable than another. That means that local knowledge is key to securing a dream home or attracting a premium price. Here are five things to bear in mind, particularly if you’re thinking about moving from Sydney.

Go beyond the headlines

No other industry attracts hype like real estate. But behind the headlines and updates that typically focus on capital city markets and a limited number of property types, your suburb may well be tracking very differently from what is reported. The Illawarra is an independent property market. Its trends and market activity are vastly different to Sydney and other regional cities in New South Wales. Yet, property news tends to lump everything together in state and city trends. It’s not uncommon for the Illawarra market to be performing vastly differently from the metro market.

Markets within markets

Then there are markets within markets. Each suburb in the Illawarra has its own attractions and features. The leafy suburbs against the escarpment offer a different lifestyle and appeal to those closer to the beach. Two properties, each with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage, but located in other areas, could well sell for very different prices. Knowing what is performing well comes down to local knowledge and engaging a real estate agent with a finger on the local property pulse.

Forgot seasonal selling

Traditionally, many homeowners listed in Spring thinking this is when buyers are active, and the market warms up with the weather. Wollongong and the Illawarra, with the beautiful beaches and lush escarpment, is a lifestyle option for many out-of-town buyers. But with people still believing the trend, more properties come on the market in Spring, yet the buyer activity is not as strong as it once was. As you know, more supply pushes the prices down and can in some cases stagnate the market. In the digital age, agents can reach buyers anytime, anywhere, so don’t limit your listing to Spring. If you’re selling, the only way to know what price you can achieve is with annual market appraisals.

Look past the listings

A local real estate agent with a swag of listings online or in the shop window can tempt those new to the area to think that this is a sign of success. But buyer (and seller) beware: an agency with a plethora of listings could mean each property gets less care and attention, the agency is interested in bulk turnover, not premium prices or helping you find the perfect home. More important than the quantity is quality, an agent with in-depth local experience and knowledge and someone who is building a relationship with you, helping you do the research, get educated about the local market, and prepare you for your next move.

Relationships are the key to success

If you are selling, most real estate agents will want your listing, and if you are buying, most will be keen to add you to their mailing list and spam you with everything on their books. Very few are interested in forming a relationship with you, keeping you up to date with facts and real-time market data to help you make educated decisions and enabling you to capitalise on short-term fluctuations. From our comprehensive, in-house market data, to detailed market reports and appraisals, we have our finger on the pulse and are invested in helping you achieve your property goals.