Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

Locals have been priced out of buying in Bryon Bay, with one family’s $140,000 in savings unable to secure them a house as the median prices sit at $1.83 million. Picture: News Regional MediaSource:News Regional Media

Jason Olderoy has lived in Byron Bay for more than 15 years, but despite having $140,000 in savings, he has been priced out of buying a forever home for his family.

The naturopath runs a wellness business, alongside his massage therapist wife, from the home they rent.

He said the customer base they have built up, plus the fact their 10-year-old son is in school, makes it almost impossible to move.

“Generally for what we need, because we work from home, we need something substantial as we need a clinic and office space, so we are looking at a three to four bedroom house and they are between $800,000 and $1.5 million around here,” he told news.com.au.

“We have had a look at what we can afford to buy, so we went into the bank and basically we were looking around buying something around $400,000, which is not available here. With our income and with our assets that’s all we can afford to borrow from the bank.”

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Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

Byron Bay has attracted a load of celebrities to the town like the famous Hemsworths. Picture: InstagramSource:Instagram

The 50-year-old said they had put the $140,000 away for a house and had been waiting for prices to drop.

“The rises in house prices we really didn’t expect it to go where it went. We were holding back and waiting for it to drop as it already seemed too high and we found ourselves in a situation where we are priced out of the market,” he said.

“How can we get a home for our future and how can we get something stable? The difficulty now is rent prices have gone up as well, so we are in a situation where we are having trouble paying the rent and also at the same time not looking at getting a house in the future.

“It just doesn’t seem like a reality that we can’t afford to get anything that we need. The only option would be to move away somewhere really cheap, but we would have to rebuild our business and that would take five years to get any decent kind of an income.”

Currently, the couple make $1200 a week from their wellness business but are looking at branching out into other ways to make money, while they also sell their own muesli on the side too.

It’s not surprising Mr Olderoy feels he has been priced out. Byron Bay was last year’s housing hotspot, with the strongest property price growth across the whole country in 2020.

The town’s housing prices exploded by more than 40 per cent in 2020, with a median house price of around $1.83 million, according to REA data.

Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

Byron Bay had the biggest increase in property prices out of anywhere in Australia last year. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Culture change

Byron Bay has also has seen dramatic changes in recent years, losing its quiet coastal vibe as the rich and famous flock to the dreamy town, including actors Chris and Liam Hemsworth and musician Natalie Bassingthwaighte.

Mr Olderoy said the Byron culture no longer exists and he feels like it is seen as fashionable to move to the town.

“There are beautiful places all up and down the coast, so I don’t know why everyone has picked here and why they want to pay so much money to live here – it is a frustration. I’m not upset at any particular person, it’s just the way things have panned out,” he said.

“I think it’s crazily overvalued and overpriced, that’s probably what it feels like the most. How can you have something that is in this town that is twice the price of a similar town down the road? It doesn’t make sense, to me its more a fashion thing, everyone is just running around here and it doesn’t make sense, it’s not that much better than anywhere else.

“The sad things is its really changed the demographic. A lot of people that were here that we would see in town were interesting, vibrant and eccentric people and you just don’t see them anymore.”

Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

Chris Hemsworth has is one of the most famous celebrities known to live in Byron Bay. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

Rising rents

In the past 10 years, Mr Olderoy has also seen rents more than double. The family used to pay $400 a week, but he said around his area, prices have gone up to between $800 and $1000.

“Then of course along with that wages and earnings haven’t gone up in line with the rent increases and it’s not just us, but for a lot of people they have had to leave the Bay,” he said.

“A lot of people have left to the closest surrounding areas generally. For us its not an option as we rely on our work with the customers that we have developed over time here.”

Mr Olderoy said the current financial climate also makes things hard as it impacts on their savings.

“We are looking at our savings being depleted as we get no interest in the bank and then we are looking at inflation of everything going up. Even though we’ve got money we are looking at it getting eaten away by inflation … with rents is a big one, and the food is going up all the time and then we’ve got school fees and dentistry, and that’s gone up a lot,” he explained.

Byron Bay family can’t afford to buy a house with $140,000 savings

It’s not cheap to rent in the area either. Picture: Liana BossSource:News Regional Media

The reality is they might never own a home, Mr Olderoy admitted.

“When we are at our age, I’m 50, I can work and make a living but when we are looking at our older years that starts to become frightening,” he confessed.

“How are we going to pay rent when we are not working and what housing are we going to get on a pension? If you own a house and are on pension that’s ok but if you’re trying to pay rent on a pension that becomes difficult.”

Have your own property story to tell? Email sarah.sharples@news.com.au

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