‘Touristification on steroids’: ‘Perfect storm’ creates Byron Bay housing crisis – leaving locals priced out and causing tensions in the beachside community
- Housing in Byron Bay is becoming unattainable for many, locals are furious
- Rent increased almost 27 per cent, with prices higher than peak Sydney areas
- The median house price is now well over$1million, up 37 per cent from 2020
- Number of local councillors pointed to ‘influencers’ and Covid as key issues
A ‘perfect storm’ of conditions has created a housing crisis in Byron Bay, with locals left frustrated and tension rapidly building within the community.
Skyrocketing prices for short-term rentals and an influx of arrivals during the Covid-19 crisis leaving the tourist mecca unaffordable for a growing number of residents.
Recent figures from Domain revealed rent has increased by 26.4 per cent in Byron Bay in the last year, with the median now at $885 per week.
The median house price is now a whopping $1.68million, up 37 per cent in 2020, with nearby Mullumbimby up 16.6 per cent and Bangalow up 24 per cent.
A ‘perfect storm’ of conditions has resulted in a housing crisis in Byron Bay, (pictured) with locals left frustrated and tension rapidly building within the community
A number of Byron Bay councillors fear the tourist mecca (pictured) will result in unattainable house prices for frustrated locals
A lack of social housing has further fuelled concerns, and Byron Bay councillor Cate Coorey said the community had fall victim to ‘touristification on steroids’.
‘This was made much worse by social media – the “influencers” flogging the perfect life, celebrity culture and gentrification,’ she told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘Then add in cheap lending rates (from banks) and Covid – which saw a boom in domestic travel, plus people working remotely.’
Ms Coorey said the growing issue could be addressed and fixed by better rent controls and stronger rules in place for the growing number of AirBnB rentals.
Paul Spooner, another Byron Bay councillor, fears many locals will never be able to purchase property in the holiday town many grew up in.
Mr Spooner’s thoughts were echoed by Lisa Sandstrom, spokeswoman for community group Bayside Connected, who said the glamorisation of Byron Bay has been detrimental.
‘Thousands of people moving in, in such a short time, is driving speculation and prices through the roof,’ she said.
‘Netflix shows (like the pending Byron Baes) don’t help either.’
Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said social housing in the state had risen 10 per cent since 2012.
An estimated 300 additional social homes are planned for the northern NSW region by 2024, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Earlier this month, the local council voted for a land trust that would see affordable homes built in Byron Bay – but this would require significant help from the state government to become a reality.
Hollywood heart-throb Chris Hemsworth (pictured with wife Elsa Pataky) is one of many celebrities to call Byron Bay home when in Australia
Byron Bay was best known for hosting music festival Splendour In The Grass – now the tourist venue has become the ‘must’ place to be for countless social media influencers