Two hours from Sydney, Kiama offers picturesque coastal and hobby farms

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sparkling Kiama† a small coastal town with a bustling harbor in Australia’s New South Wales, it has become a magnet for city dwellers seeking variety amid impressive scenery and a relaxed lifestyle.

Lifestyle changes and unprecedented demand have pushed property prices to unprecedented heights over the past 12 months, even above the average Sydney home value.

Just two hours from Sydney, three hours from Canberra and 40 minutes from Wollongong, Kiama is a tourist paradise with its natural blowhole claimed to be the largest in the world, shooting walls of water up to 100 feet (30 meters) high through a 2 .5 meter opening.

A rich agricultural hub, the area is surrounded by pristine surfing beaches, rock pools, national parks and has seaside cafes and restaurants.

Sydney International Airport and Sydney Domestic Airport are both a 90-minute drive away, while the nearest airport is at Kiama Wollongong Airport, 13.7 kilometers (8.5 miles).

Borders

Kiama Municipality is located in the Illawarra region of the state, south of Shellharbour and Wollongong City. Located near the Minnamurra River, Kiama is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Princes Highway and the South Coast Railway Line.


price range

A wave of urban residents moving to this coastal area during the pandemic has dramatically increased the demand for homes in Kiama due to a price hike and a shortage of quality properties.

According to Eliza Owen, head of research for property data firm CoreLogic, the housing market in Kiama has outperformed the wider region, with homes in Kiama seeing a 43.9% increase in value, compared to 31.0% in regional New South Wales as a whole. .

The apartment market was more in line with growth in the state’s regional markets in the 12 months to January, with Kiama units up 24.6%.

“The rise in values ​​has resulted in the median home value in the wider Kiama region reaching A$1.6 million (US$1.17 million), which is higher than the average Sydney home value, although Kiama is a smaller lifestyle market.” said Mrs. Owen.

In his current portfolio, Daniel Watt of South Coast Prestige Properties lists a six-bedroom, two-bathroom home on Kiama’s coveted beachfront enclave for A$6 million (US$4.3 million), but said prices averaged A$1 .5 million amounts for a quality house with times viewed.

This luxury six-bedroom residence on the coveted beachfront enclave of Kiama is asking for approximately $4.3 million.

Prestige Properties on the South Coast

Housing stock

Sprawling luxury properties are on the beach or on the edge of rural lots, and there are some beautifully restored historic cottages built for quarry workers in the 1880s. There are also high-rise and low-rise apartments with coastal and ocean views.

Kiama now has more homes and units for sale compared to the last six months of 2021, when agents described the market as “hissing”.

Mr Watt said that quality homes were sold as soon as they came on the market last year and buyers had little choice but the market has stabilized and there is now more for sale.

“Housing in the exclusive headland area overlooking the coast always sells quickly, but in recent months there has been more choice for buyers of quality housing,” he said.

A Kiama house that changed hands in late 2021 for A$3.4 million.

Prestige Properties on the South Coast

What makes it unique?

It’s all about lifestyle in Kiama, where nature shines in the form of beautiful seascapes with beautiful beaches, where whales can be spotted from May to July and from September to November.

The nearby hinterland is a lush green belt of dairy farmland, giving it an Anglo-country feel.

There are no traffic lights and parking is no problem.

The Budderoo National Park, Seven Mile Beach National Park and Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, all within 30 minutes’ drive of Kiama, are ideal for bush walks and exploration.


Hikers also hunt for waterfalls in the area, including Minnamurra, Carrington, Fitzroy, and Belmore Falls.

Vivienne Marris, director and owner of Elders Jamberoo Real Estate, said many residents commute by train to Sydney and Wollongong to achieve a good work-life balance and enjoy a vibrant community.

“It’s a perfect mix of lifestyle and there’s still a rural feel to it with the sea on one side and rolling green hills and farmland on the other,” said Ms Marris.

Mr Watt agreed, saying it is unique for its proximity to Sydney.

“That’s definitely a good place – the city train is excellent and you can be there in less than two hours,” he said.

Kiama is an indigenous word meaning “where the sea makes noise” in reference to the famous Kiama blowhole.

A luxury home in Kiama with 180 degree views of the neighborhood and the beach.

Prestige Properties on the South Coast

Luxury amenities

Kiama has grown into a gastronomic hub with seaside restaurants and quaint cafes showcasing the fresh regional produce the Illawarra region is known for.

You can pick up supplies at the Kiama Farmers’ Markets on Wednesdays in Coronation Park with the surf beach in the background.

The market starts with the ringing of a bell and the products include fruits, vegetables, seafood, oysters, local Wagyu beef, honey, eggs, milk straight from the dairy, gelato made from local milk, cider, wine, mushrooms, cakes and pies, jams and sourdough bread.

Some great coffee spots include Wild Patch Cafe, which serves Byron Bay coffee and many healthy options.

Located on Kiama’s surf beach, Silica showcases homegrown produce from its own organic vegetable garden at Dapto Community Farm – the fish and chips and barbites have a following.


Hanoi on Manning has been serving authentic Vietnamese food since it opened in 2009.

For a sweet treat, head to Parfait Patisserie for delicious pastries plus breads and fruit tarts. The Little Earth Cafe near the Little Blowhole is an organic cafe and shop and is great for coffee and treats; and Flour Water Salt bakery, cafe and grocer is known for its artisanal sourdough, pastries and cakes.

Located in a historic Collins Street Terrace House, The Pines Pantry has award-winning cheese, bottled milk, yogurt and an array of artisanal ice creams made from family-run The Pines microdairy on the nearby south coast.

Mix art with food at the Little Blowhole Art Bar, known for its cool tunes, smart cocktails and it’s a boutique art gallery. Book lovers will enjoy Bouquiniste with a selection of interesting books and coffee.

For shopping, Beachside Emporium sells art and design pieces from local designers and artists and Australian-made products. Meanwhile, The Inside Story has a great selection and for more retail therapy, Deer Willow is filled with global homewares and fashion spread over two floors.

There are excellent schools in the area, including Illawarra Grammar School in Wollongong and Shellharbour Anglican in Dunmore, as well as other schools in the highlands, all within 50 minutes.

Who lives there?

Kiama is home to young professionals, families, retirees and many who have recently made the move but commute to Sydney or Wollongong for work.

Ms Marris said the hinterland attracts “hobby” farmers who want to keep a few animals and have space.

“The demographics are shifting to a younger element as it has traditionally been farming and retirement, but we now have middle to high income residents so the first home buyer is no longer part of the community as much as it was say 15 years ago,” she said.

An interior view of a $3.4 million luxury home in Kiama.

Prestige Properties on the South Coast

Outlook

Like many high-performing markets across Australia, according to Ms. Owen, Kiama has likely reached a peak growth rate for the current cycle, with quarterly movements already starting to slow down.

“Affordability constraints and a shift in the interest rate cycle (as well as significant advances in vaccination and social distancing) will slow growth rates in this market in 2022, with the potential for price declines as the [interest] rate is going up’, she says.

In the long term, however, Kiama has excellent prospects for further growth and development.

“The Covid crisis has made many realize that it is possible to live in a commuter, regional center, and the south coast of New South Wales continues to develop an attractive lifestyle with wineries, breweries, gift shops and cafes,” said Ms Own . “Like most areas experiencing this kind of shift and demand from relatively high incomes, this will present a mix of opportunities and disruptions for locals as employment grows and property markets continue to appreciate in value.”

Ms Marris said the past year isn’t really a good indicator because in some areas, values ​​are up 60% in the last six months.

“FOMO – the fear of missing out – played a big part in the market’s peak in August, September and October, when we had little to offer and demand that hadn’t been seen before,” she said.

“That has cooled off now, settled with more real estate coming to market.”

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