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Are you looking to buy a house?
Then it’s highly likely that you’re feeling a mixture of sheer excitement and apprehension.
For most of us, buying our first home means preparing to take on the most significant debt of our lives.
But there’s more to entering the property market than just securing a competitive home loan that allows you to make the absolute most of your buying budget.
There are also heaps of other factors to consider, including building and pest inspections, insurance quotes, mapping out your big move, and so much more.
House hunters also have to make the difficult choice of selecting an ideal location.
After all, isn’t that of the game?
If you’re in this position and are considering buying into the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, then this article is for you.
We’ll cover the best suburbs to buy into and detail what makes them appealing to prospective home buyers in NSW. Read on to learn more.
The lush Northern Rivers region is the most north-easterly district of NSW and is located around 600 kilometres north of Sydney.
This region is named after the valleys and rivers that run through it, namely the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed rivers, which feed into the NSW coastline.
The Northern Rivers region extends from Tweed Heads in the north, almost adjacent to Queensland, and stretches to the southern extent of the Clarence River catchment, lying between Grafton and Coffs Harbour.
Some famous towns are in this region, including Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Nimbin, and of course our very own Lismore.
Now that we’ve covered the region let’s dig into the best suburbs to buy a home in this picturesque NSW location.
Byron Bay has a long history of being a destination for those who prefer alternative lifestyles, healing modalities, and counter-culture. With crystal clear beaches, plenty of rural or off-the-grid properties, a vibrant food and drinking culture, and many day-trip destinations nearby, this suburb is the crown jewel of the Northern Rivers region.
Byron Bay is renowned for its bustling community with makers markets, superb fresh local produce, and an eclectic nightlife. There is also a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle that accompanies living in Byron, which may be preferable for those looking to leave the skyscrapers behind, so to speak. However, it’s worth mentioning that Byron Bay’s house prices are on the higher side, with a median sale price that pushes $2.6 million. This may mean that Byron Bay is only affordable for high-income earners. Even so, if you have the opportunity to buy (or even to rent) in Byron Bay, it’s well worth taking.
As for the best suburbs to buy into in Byron Bay, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few here to select from. Suffolk Park offers a great community vibe with easy access to a dog-friendly beach, as well as plentiful local shopping and an excellent bakery.
Baywood Chase or Byron Hills are also great choices if you’re after a modern home in a newer suburb, perfect for kids to play cricket on the quiet streets or walk the dog. And if you can afford it, Ewingsdale is a lush rural suburb on the outskirts of Bryon Bay, which offers plenty of privacy, great demographics, and is known for its nice and quiet streets and considerably less traffic.
Another excellent choice of suburb for this gorgeous Australian region is Mullumbimby. This lovely heritage town offers a palm-lined Main Street with easy beach accessibility and loads of local small businesses stocking food, merchandise and hand-crafted items such as leather goods and candles.
On top of this, Mullumbimby is probably the North Rivers region’s most family-friendly and safest of suburbs. The local community is tight-knit and vibrant, and there is an excellent local library, a skate park for the older kids, tennis courts and a kid’s pool for those hot summer days. There is also a decent spread of local takeaway and dine-in eateries for the foodies. And with a handful of fantastic primary and secondary schools dotting the township and city centre, Mullumbimby is positioned as a great place to raise a family that’s away from the hustle and bustle of large urban areas.
So what are property prices like in Mullumbimby? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that this family-oriented region is more affordable than Byron Bay, with a median sale price of around $1.1 million for family homes. Units, townhouses, and apartments are also available across the suburb, with new developments popping up every year. If you play your cards right, you can snag yourself an ‘off the plan’ build for a reasonable selling price.
Situated a mere thirty minutes south of the lush Gold Coast, Brunswick Heads and its central suburb of Brunswick is an idyllic seaside location that’s well suited to retirees or those desiring a more laid-back pace of living. The surf beaches are beautiful and perfect for catching a wave, which is also what makes Brunswick Heads a popular holiday destination along the NSW coastline.
If you prefer a more active lifestyle, then you’ll be sure to love the region’s abundance of fishing spots and waterways that are perfect for leisurely boating, watersports like kayaking, and other activities. And at the end of every outdoorsy day, you can head into the Brunswick town centre to enjoy the area’s bustling food and drink scene, with restaurants and pubs offering options in spades. In addition to this, there are major supermarket chains in the suburb, making it an excellent location for home buyers.
As for Brunswick’s property market, sadly prices are a little steeper in comparison to Mullumbimby, as you may have expected from the fact that this particular suburb also happens to be a thriving tourist town. Currently, the median property price in Brunswick Heads is around $1.6 million, and this number will only continue to grow. Thankfully, Brunswick Heads also boasts plenty of long-term rental opportunities and coastal units and apartments on offer for those who are looking to lay down roots in the area.
Situated a short drive’s distance from Byron Bay and located in Byron Shire as well, Bangalow is a hilly, verdant and leafy suburb that offers a relaxed lifestyle and quiet solitude, much like the other suburbs mentioned on this list, as this serene atmosphere truly is a staple of the Northern Rivers region. Bangalow is also often referred to as the introvert to Byron Bay’s extrovert. But truth be told, there aren’t as many distinctions between these two neighbouring locales as you may think.
Simply put, everything great about Byron Bay is available right in the heart of Bangalow as well. This includes great food, an abundance of breath-taking natural attractions, and a tight-knit community in a gorgeous hinterland setting.
There are great places to eat and drink, and it’s quiet enough compared to Byron Bay that it’s probably a better suburb choice to raise a family. And on that note, Bangalow is also substantially more affordable than Byron Bay, despite being just a short drive away. On the way from Byron Bay to Bangalow, the median property price drops by literally $1 million, with property prices in Bangalow averaging at around $1.6 million for standalone homes. Once again, house hunters who are looking to invest in a unit, apartment, or townhouse, will be able to purchase one of these smaller properties at a lower price point.
This helpful article has shared the best suburbs to buy into in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Be sure to use this buying guide to inform your forever home purchase.