Chang­ing of the guard

Herald Sun - Property - - NEWS - JOR­DAN MAR­SHALL

THE times they are a chang­ing.

At least they are in a num­ber of sub­urbs across Mel­bourne that are un­der­go­ing a ma­jor gen­er­a­tional shift.

Wheel­ers Hill has un­der­gone the big­gest change in the past 12 months, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from CoreLogic RP Data.

While the av­er­age house in the sub­urb has been owned for 16.4 years, there were 301 sales in the 12 months to Jan­uary.

“That doesn’t sur­prise me at all,” said Martin Giles, of Har­courts, Mt Waver­ley.

“Wheel­ers Hill is a tremen­dously fam­ily ori­ented sub­urb with big homes, good schools, parks and all the ser­vices you look for.”

Mr Giles, who along with his wife and chil­dren, as well as his mother and brother, lives in Wheel­ers Hill, said he had re­cently seen a lot of older cou­ples pre­par­ing to down­size from large fam­ily homes.

“We prob­a­bly have five or six older cou­ples on the books at the mo­ment who are rat­tling around in four or five-bed­room homes in Wheel­ers Hill,” Mr Giles said. “They are de­cid­ing it’s time to move on, make a change and down­size.”

The face of the sub­urb is chang­ing, with the buy­ers mov­ing into the area com­ing from far and wide.

“Fam­i­lies are mov­ing in to the area and a lot of them, a ma­jor­ity of them, are com­ing from over­seas,” Mr Giles said.

“Of the houses we have sold in Wheel­ers Hill in the last year, I’d say 80 per cent were bought by Asian buy­ers.”

Ver­mont South and Ver­mont, which ranked third and fourth re­spec­tively, were un­der­go­ing very sim­i­lar changes, Mr Giles said.

Nearby Wan­tirna has un­der­gone the sec­ond-big­gest change of any Mel­bourne sub­urb in the past year.

Even though Wan­tirna home­own­ers have been in their houses for an av­er­age of 17.4 years, 206 houses were sold in the year to Jan­uary.

“Homes have been so tightly held be­cause of the life­style on of­fer,” Barry Plant, Wan­tirna, di­rec­tor Bren­dan Mur­phy said.

“There’s fan­tas­tic in­fra­struc­ture. There are schools, park­land, shops, ev­ery­thing you can want.

“It’s the sort of area where buy­ers know they can buy, raise a fam­ily and live there hap­pily while they grow for 20 or 30 years.”

Peo­ple who had raised their fam­i­lies were now look­ing to down­size and cap­i­talise on the price growth their houses had ex­pe­ri­enced (24 per cent in the past 12 months).

“A lot of peo­ple are viewing their fam­ily homes as a re­tire­ment fund,” Mr Mur­phy said. “They might sell for $1 mil­lion and then spend $500,000 on a unit lo­cally, which puts them in a good fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.”

Young fam­i­lies are be­ing drawn to the sub­urb in droves, at­tracted to the same things that drew buy­ers 20 or 30 years ago, Mr Mur­phy said.

Fur­ther to the south, Din­g­ley Vil­lage rounded out the top five, with 141 houses sold in the 12 months to Jan­uary, while the av­er­age house has been owned for 16 years.

“There are a lot of peo­ple who are ei­ther down­siz­ing lo­cally or mak­ing a seachange at the mo­ment,” Dora Kam­bouris, of Ray White, Din­g­ley Vil­lage said.

“A lot of the peo­ple mov­ing into the sub­urb are first-time buy­ers or young fam­i­lies look­ing to take their next step.”

The tight-knit sub­urb has only 300 houses.

“There’s a real com­mu­nity feel. It is an area where peo­ple feel safe and that’s why peo­ple have stayed.

“We are see­ing an in­flux of young fam­ily buy­ers that are see­ing that Din­g­ley Vil­lage is great and that it’s an area where ev­ery­body knows ev­ery­body.”

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