In search of the good life
THEY’RE the places you visit on holiday and never want to leave.
Lifestyle locations have long been high on many buyers’ lists, but potential sea and treechange buyers need to look beyond the lure of relaxed coastal or rural living.
Experts say a move to the coast or country should be driven by a way of life rather than financial factors, with CoreLogic data showing many of our most popular lifestyle destinations are not a patch on the city when it comes to capital growth.
While the city’s median house price climbed 8.1 per cent to $600,000 in the 12 months to March, that level of capital growth was harder to achieve outside the metropolitan area. Lorne, on the Great Ocean Rd, saw house prices fall 5.3 per cent, while house prices dropped 4.1 per cent in Cowes on Phillip Island.
But Mornington Peninsula gem Portsea, which is considered part of the metropolitan, saw house prices skyrocket 40.6 per cent.
KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said the sea and treechange trend began about 15 years ago but continued to gain popularity, with those making the move looking further afield.
“What has happened is the middle-class is now aspiring to make a lifestyle change, which has led to areas right throughout the coasts and the Goldfields being lifestyle locations,” Mr Salt said.
Improvements in technology and transport links had made relocation easier.
“With the advent of the NBN and other technological advances it is much easier to telecommute,” Mr Salt said.
“In addition, with the duplication of the Western Highway, as well as the creation of the Geelong Bypass and Peninsula Link, an actual commute to the CBD is much easier.”
While lifestyle changes had always been popular with retirees, Melbourne’s expansion was causing people to look at making the change earlier in life. “You are seeing more people in their late 30s and 40s wanting to escape the rat race of Melbourne,” Mr Salt said.
“As Melbourne becomes busier, meaner and more expensive, there is a growing temptation for people to say ‘this isn’t for me’.”
host Andrew Winter said lifestyle locations were areas where the motivation to buy was based on quality of life, as opposed to helping buyers’ hip pocket.
“People are drawn to such places to improve their lifestyle rather than their bank balance,” Winter said.
He warned against comparing property prices with the city and expecting the same level of growth.
“Ensure the price paid is appropriate for the new area and when you buy, never expect long-term capital growth,” Winter said. “Be aware values could dip and be prepared to own long term.”
Geelong-based Mortgage Choice mortgage broker Gary Sweeten said the number of Melburnians making a seachange was on the rise.
“The number of clients I see coming down from Melbourne to look either on the Surf Coast or on the bay side is increasing,” Mr Sweeten said.
Some buyers were drawn by the comparative affordability, but the quality of life was what kept buyers around.
“The motive may be mixed, but whether they came down for the lifestyle or for affordability they are staying because they love the area, regardless of financial growth,” Mr Sweeten said.