What’s lur­ing Mel­bourne home­buy­ers out of the big smoke?

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE - PETER FARAGO

HOME­BUY­ERS are be­ing lured be­yond the city lim­its to towns and sub­urbs that of­fer greater af­ford­abil­ity, a re­laxed lifestyle and an easy com­mute to Mel­bourne.

New fig­ures re­veal that ar­eas within about a 100km ra­dius of the city are en­joy­ing a prop­erty price boom as im­proved trans­port links broaden the ap­peal of liv­ing out­side Mel­bourne’s sub­urbs.

But while home prices are on the march in ar­eas in­clud­ing Gee­long, Bar­won Heads, Bal­larat, Bendigo and Seymour, these re­gional hubs re­main rel­a­tively af­ford­able com­pared to buy­ing in the big smoke.

The Real Es­tate In­sti­tute of Vic­to­ria fig­ures show a me­dian priced house in metropoli­tan Mel­bourne will set buy­ers back $706,000. In Gee­long, where the me­dian price soared 21.5 per cent in the year to June, the me­dian house price is $580,000.

In the Gee­long sub­urb of Waurn Ponds, the me­dian house price has jumped 22.9 per cent to $513,000, and the pres­tige coastal mar­ket of Bar­won Heads has seen prices climb 19.3 per cent to $811,000.

Other ar­eas to see sig­nif­i­cant growth in the year to June in­clude South Gipp­s­land, (17.1 per cent), New Gis­borne in the Mace­don Ranges (13.3 per cent) and Ep­som on the out­skirts of Bendigo (12.5 per cent). Mel­bourne’s me­dian price grew 6.3 per cent in the same pe­riod.

“The gains we’ve seen in Mel­bourne now ap­pear to be flow­ing to ar­eas fur­ther from the CBD, with many more Mel­bur­ni­ans look­ing for a coun­try lifestyle with the ben­e­fits of be­ing able to travel to and from the CBD for work,” REIV chief ex­ec­u­tive Enzo Rai­mondo said.

Com­mut­ing has be­come eas­ier since V/Line trains switched to the Re­gional Rail Link in June, a key piece of in­fra­struc­ture de­signed to ease rail con­ges­tion. While travel times have re­mained steady, com­muter trains now run ev­ery 10 min­utes dur­ing peak times and at 20-minute in­ter­vals off­peak on the Gee­long line. The line has also been ex­tended to Waurn Ponds.

PRD Na­tion­wide, Gee­long, di­rec­tor Lau­rie McGo­van, said many Mel­bourne buy­ers were now head­ing to Gee­long.

“Gee­long has that feel about it that it’s close enough to town but far enough away that they can pro­vide a bet­ter lifestyle for their fam­ily,” he said.

Mr McGo­van said Gee­long was at­trac­tive be­cause it had ev­ery­thing fam­i­lies needed.

“For a lot of peo­ple com­ing out of Mel­bourne the hous­ing is still af­ford­able,” he said.

He said young fam­i­lies es­pe­cially were see­ing the fi­nan­cial sense in selling their small city prop­erty and up­grad­ing to a larger but more af­ford­able home in Gee­long.

RT Edgar, Mace­don Ranges, di­rec­tor Rick Lan­der said towns along the Bendigo rail cor­ri­dor, in­clud­ing Gis­borne, New Gis­borne, Wood­end, Kyne­ton and Malms­bury, had per­formed well in the past three years.

He said that about 70 per cent of en­try-level buy­ers were from out­side the area, climb­ing to 87 per cent for prop­er­ties worth more than $1 mil­lion.

The REIV fig­ures show New Gis­borne prices climbed 13.3 per cent to $575,000, while Wood­end prices in­creased 6.1 per cent to $605,000.

“It is value for money as well as lifestyle,” Mr Lan­der said.

“Buy­ing a lit­tle 200sq m ter­race or some­thing in Colling­wood, Carl­ton, North­cote, Brunswick, Yar­rav­ille or Sed­don, per­haps is go­ing to be $800,000-plus and they’ll have to do a fair bit of work to it.

“For $800,000, they can come up here and buy some­thing on an acre, (with) four or five bed­rooms that’s rel­a­tively new and good look­ing and they can move straight into the home. We’ve got great schools, great fa­cil­i­ties, rail­way sta­tions ev­ery­where.”

Mr Rai­mondo said the rip­ple ef­fect was good news for sellers in these ar­eas, which in the past had ex­pe­ri­enced sin­gle digit quar­terly growth.

“Buy­ers are look­ing for two things: af­ford­abil­ity and lifestyle,” he said.

“Both these fac­tors seem to be more and more im­por­tant for buy­ers, as they look fur­ther afield for homes that meet their needs.”

While the rip­ple ef­fect is push­ing out, new re­search has shown the Mel­bourne Metro pro­ject is set to boost prices in in­ner sub­urbs like Al­bert Park, South Mel­bourne and Parkville.

A study by Stiab­hna Bak­erHol­land and Jodie Walker, of Se­cret Agent, into the po­ten­tial ef­fect of the pro­ject on prices showed sub­urbs al­ready on train lines tended to have higher growth.

The re­port found while the pro­posed Do­main, Ar­den and Parkville sta­tions were rel­a­tively close to the CBD and tram lines, their near­est train sta­tions were cur­rently quite a dis­tance away. There­fore these ar­eas were likely to see greater price growth from the ad­di­tion of Mel­bourne Metro train sta­tions, the re­port con­cluded.

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