In search of the good life

Herald Sun - Property - - NEWS - JOR­DAN MAR­SHALL

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.

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