. . . and if you’ve got a granny flat you’re also in the money

The Sunday Times - - NEWS -

PROP­ERTY hun­ters scour­ing the in­ter­net have pools and granny flats at the top of their wish lists, while Man­durah is the most pop­u­lar sub­urb for real es­tate clicks.

Man­durah has pow­ered to the top of realestate.com.au search ranks thanks to re­tirees look­ing to cash in on their age­ing Perth homes and es­cape the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life.

The coastal com­mu­nity topped WA search rank­ings for the past two years and is on track to de­fend its crown again in 2017, with more than 172,000 searches up to last month. Swim­ming pools are by far the most sought-af­ter fea­ture, rack­ing up more than 101,220 searches this year, with hard-to-shift adult chil­dren and the rev­enue on of­fer through short-stay ac­com­mo­da­tion lead­ing granny flats (23,600) into sec­ond.

REA Group chief econ­o­mist Nerida Con­is­bee said Man­durah’s pop­u­lar­ity re­flected a grow­ing trend across Aus­tralia.

“The kind of life­style on of­fer is be­com­ing more and more im­por­tant for peo­ple buy­ing a house but they also don’t want to pay too much for the priv­i­lege of be­ing near ameni­ties or the beach,” she said.

With a me­dian house price of $290,000, Man­durah re­mains sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than the Perth av­er­age of around $500,000.

Ms Con­is­bee said swim­ming pools con­sis­tently topped search rank­ings na­tion­wide and granny flats were be­com­ing more sought af­ter as chil­dren waited longer to leave the nest and, since the advent of web­sites such as Airbnb, were also viewed as lu­cra­tive money-spin­ners in the right lo­ca­tion.

“If you’re in Scar­bor­ough or Man­durah or a nice beachy area, hav­ing a granny flat for short-term ac­com­mo­da­tion def­i­nitely of­fers a fi­nan­cial re­turn,” Ms Con­is­bee said.

Raine and Horne real es­tate sales con­sul­tant Ran­dolph Wat­son said he was en­joy­ing the busiest pe­riod of his sixyear ca­reer with over-50s flock­ing to join Man­durah’s laid-back coastal com­mu­nity.

“Man­durah has al­ways been known as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion and has that hol­i­day feel year round,” Mr Wat­son said. “We’ve got the most ex­ten­sive canal sys­tem in the whole of WA and a wa­ter life­style that no other re­gion can of­fer.”

Mr Wat­son said Man­durah also had world-class health fa­cil­i­ties, ex­ten­sive shop­ping and easy access to Perth by rail. Many Man­durah buy­ers were mo­ti­vated by the value on of­fer, es­pe­cially re­tirees look­ing to un­lock eq­uity in fam­ily homes closer to Perth.

“Of­ten the homes they are liv­ing in are get­ting old and dated,” he said. “They can come to the Man­durah or Peel re­gion and find the life­style they want, buy a home that is much more mod­ern and also bank some cash.”

Af­ter years liv­ing in Can­ning Vale, David and Les­ley Wake­field re­cently bought a four-bed­room, two-bath­room home with a swim­ming pool on a 750sqm block in Pin­jarra, just out­side Man­durah.

“We don’t want to be liv­ing on top of any­body else,” Mrs Wake­field said. “Pin­jarra is even slower-paced than Man­durah which is a big at­trac­tion for us. We’ve got no need for shop­ping and big crowds.”

An $8 mil­lion City Beach cas­tle, at 64 Brank­some Gar­dens, is the most viewed WA prop­erty this year with close to 26,000 page views.

Pic­ture: Daniel Wilkins

Pool­side: David and Les­ley Wake­field at their new Pin­jarra home.

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