Fewer seachangers and retirees moving into coastal areas has resulted in a generally sluggish market during 2009, but some areas defied the downturn and held up well according to rpdata.com.

Greater Geelong in Victoria (up 2.1%), Port Lincoln in SA (up 1.5%) and Newcastle in NSW (1.5%) recorded the largest increases in coastal median house prices during the past 12 months.

Gold Coast racked up the greatest volume of unit sales within these coastal regions during the year to January 2010 with 9,091 sales (more units sold on the Gold Coast than houses).

The best performers in terms of median unit price growth during the year were Geraldton, WA with an increase of 11.4%, East Gippsland, VIC, rose 7.8%, Bundaberg in QLD added 4.5 % and Newcastle NSW gained 4.3%

In contrast, the largest falls in median house prices during the last year were recorded in: Mandurah, WA (down 7.6%), Byron, NSW (down 6.4 %) and Albany, WA (down 6.3 %)

 "Generally speaking, the global economic uncertainty, increases to the unemployment rate, the falling value of the share market (which is now recovering) and the loss in value of superannuation has hampered coastal regions more than most,” said Cameron Kusher, senior research analyst with rpdata.com.

"We have seen fewer 'sea changers' and retirees moving to these coastal markets and a large number of non-core assets such as holiday homes were placed on the market as owners looked to reduce their exposure to debt and become more liquid,” he said.

Over the coming 12 months, rpdata.com expects coastal markets to notch up stronger performance than that witnessed during 2009.
"Many factors are contributing to a more confident market including lower unemployment rate, strong consumer and business confidence and still lower-than-average interest rates,” said Kusher. "The renewed confidence should see demand pick up in lifestyle regions and as a result prices should begin to strengthen.”