Hippest town has a property market that's hard to crack
BRUNSWICK Heads was once the lower-key, somewhat daggy cousin of Byron, but that's well and truly changed.
In town, there's a hip cafe on every corner, as well as the hatted Fleet restaurant and the renovated Bruns Bakery that packs in the crowds on the weekends.
Up on Tweed St - where the old highway used to run through the town - there's Ethel, the new gourmet food store owned by the Fleet crew, coffee counter Jones and Co, and Old Maids, a burger joint that moved into the old KC's shop, the Chiko Roll-style Aussie take-away replaced with gourmet vegan burgers, cacao smoothies and acai bowls.
Entertainment in town has evolved too. The landmark Bruns Pub is still a favourite spot for a weekend session, but the new Trawlers Bar and Kitchen with its espresso martinis and margaritas provides a more intimate and sophisticated experience. Nearby, the Brunswick Picture House has become a hub for circus comedy cabaret and cinema.
Among all this, the town has retained its seaside holiday village charm and family-friendly appeal, so it's no surprise it's one of the most sought after real estate markets in the region.
Elders Brunswick Heads principal Dave Bosselmann says the town has become popular with people from Byron seeking a quieter lifestyle away from the traffic and crowds. Families from Sydney and Melbourne come to Bruns to bring up their children in a safe, family-friendly, tight-knit community, and Brisbane buyers who once thought of a house in Brunswick as a weekender are now spending more time in town and commuting to Brisbane when they need to.
Those who want to make their health a priority are also flocking to Brunswick Heads.
"We're seeing more people who have health concerns and are looking for an alternative way of living, because it's well supported in this area with things like food and alternative medicine," Mr Bosselmann said.
Brunswick is a small market, with very little in the way of new development. About 15 blocks were sold in Bayside on the outskirts of town last year, which was the first land release in 20 years. This combination of high demand and low availability has seen the median property price in Brunswick Heads skyrocket in the past five years, from $620,000 in 2012 to the current $1,235,000.
After five years of rapid boil, however, it looks like the market may be coming back to a slow simmer.
The downturn in Sydney and Melbourne is having a ripple effect and newly listed properties are not getting the same frenzied response they once did.
But don't expect the market to sit still for too long.
"We live in an area that's always going to be its own little market and there are always going to be people who want to live here," Mr Bosselmann said.
"It won't take long for this area to pick up and go again.
"I can't see it going like it has for the past five years, but it will pick up again."