A lack of availability and affordability of housing in the region is forcing people into homelessness says real estate agent.
A lack of availability and affordability of housing in the region is forcing people into homelessness says real estate agent.

Is our region facing a housing crisis?

Concerns continue to be raised over a lack of affordable and available housing in the Clarence Valley following a surge of tree-changers to the region.

Grafton real estate agent Allison Whaites said middle-to-high-income households were not immune to the impact due to a combination of factors affecting the region.

"There are a lot of workers moving into town, especially with places like Serco and the hospital bringing more people into the area," Ms Whaites said.

"More tenants from out of town are moving here. I've met quite a few people from Sydney moving here because of COVID. They're sick of the city and we're getting known as an ideal place to live.

"Because of that demand and not enough supply, we're seeing a lot of homelessness going on around here and oftentimes it's a family that earns a good income but just can't seem to find adequate housing."

Ms Whaites said she receives around 20 inquiries a day from people looking to find a rental.

"Even with the connections I already have, and people tagging me on social media about available places, it's still not enough," she said.

"Everyone just thought that once the bypass was complete, it would reduce the number of people needing accommodation, but that's not the case at all and coronavirus has certainly added to the problem."

According to data from CoreLogic, a consumer and property information service, regional and rural property values have increased by almost 10% in 2020.

However, in the Clarence Valley, these values have increased by almost 20% in popular parts of the region.

Between 2019 and 2020 South Grafton property prices rose 15% while Yamba jumped 19% according to data obtained by realestate.com.au. In previous years, Yamba's housing market has remained steady, while South Grafton has gradually risen each year following its lowest average in 2014 where house prices ranged around $190,000.

Furthermore, renters looking for a four-bedroom home can expect to pay an average of $550 per week in Yamba, $420 in South Grafton, or $460 in Maclean.

In the meantime, Ms Whaites said she was helping give prospective renters the best chance of securing a place to live.

"It can be a pretty overwhelming process and even more disheartening if you keep getting knocked back," she said.

"We're here to help prospective tenants and therefore provide a how-to guide and educational videos on our Facebook page on how best to go about it so that they stand out from the crowd."