Great Lakes: home to most affordable beachside retreats within 3 hours of Sydney

Nabiac's medium house price of $354,500 and half hour drive to the beach ranks it the cheapest beachside holiday buy within the golden 3 hour drive circle from Sydney.
Nabiac's medium house price of $354,500 and half hour drive to the beach ranks it the cheapest beachside holiday buy within the golden 3 hour drive circle from Sydney.

Well, the secret’s out: three areas within the Great Lakes region have been named in NSW’ “top 10 cheapest beachside towns within three hours of Sydney.”

And while it’s no surprise to those who chose to move here for that very reason, some might be surprised to find Nabiac topping the state-wide list, with its median house price of $354,500 (taken from Domain Group figures). 

Hawks Nest is eighth on the list, with an average of $395,000 per house, and Smiths Lake is 10th, at $400,000.

Domain chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson said these kind of prices show that buying a holiday home or weekender near the beach is still possible on a budget. 

“Three hours is still a pretty acceptable drive for most people and, as long as you’re not right on a beach, and you move away from some of the more expensive areas, you can find affordable property,” he said.

With housing in Nabiac around one third of the average cost of a much smaller home in Sydney, local real estate agent Don Gordon said they were getting more and more Sydneysiders up to buy property. 

“A lot of people would probably drive through without noticing it, although a lot of them find out about us afterwards when they’re issued with a speeding ticket from our very efficient traffic police,” he said. 

Nabiac agent Jacqui Buckingham said it was a different world than when she came in 2000 and prices plateaued.

“Then in July (2016) with the cattle prices spiking everything took off, that creates a bit of a boom. We’re now getting Sydney buyers bypassing the central coast and coming up here. Nearly every second person wants a waterfront. It’s a different world, today mum and dad are saying we need something where the kids can come with us and vice versa. They’re having to share to manage the mortgage."

Dominique Vasers of Pacific Palms Real Estate, with offices at Smiths Lake, Blueys Beach and Tea Gardens, said compared to Byron Bay and Sydney markets the local prices are incredibly cheap. 

“And its such a beautiful place, it deserves to be on the world stage,” she said.

Since the Top 10 list was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on the weekend, she had noticed a substantial increase in phone calls expressing interest in properties in an already busy market.

“I have one buyer who drove up on Sunday about to put an offer in for a block… Another buyer is just about to buy three blocks, bang, bang, bang.”

She said her biggest problem was they had no stock left to sell. 

“We can't keep up!”

Second to Nabiac on the Top 10 list was Old Erowal Bay on the South Coast in the Shoalhaven, where an average kind of house will set you back $355,000. It’s followed by Nowra, $355,500, Sanctuary Point, $365,000, Bomaderry, $385,000, Basin View, $386,000, Berrara, $392,500, Hawks Nest, then West Nowra, $395,000 and last but not least Smiths Lake, $400,000.

Contains extracts from ‘Slow down and you might just by snag a cheap weekender’ by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Sue Williams (January 7-8, 2017)