The month in review: Regional VIC

By Herron Todd White
April 2019

Geelong

Geelong, Drumcondra and Rippleside can easily be argued as Geelong’s premium suburbs. Tightly held, these suburbs offer exceptional bayside living in a blend of period and modern style dwellings. Generally set over a generous allotment, they are located within easy walking distance of central Geelong and the waterfront.

Rippleside has seen a jump in the value of dwelling prices of almost 19 per cent over the past three years thanks to the Balmoral Quay waterfront development. An initial off the plan apartment purchased for $1.029 million recently sold again for $1.1 million, a seven per cent increase in just over 12 months since the occupation.

According to Realestate.com, the median house prices for Drumcondra is $885,000, Geelong $745,000 and Rippleside $735,000. This may be set to increase with the announcement of the proposed $40 million redevelopment of the Royal Geelong Yacht Club Safe Harbour.

For those looking to enter the market in these locations, patience will be the key as the area is tightly held. Good opportunities still present themselves, however buyers will have to compromise on location, size and quality of dwellings. Furthermore, they may need to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty undertaking cosmetic renovation and updates to bring the dwelling up to spec.

An example is 22 Walker Street, Rippleside.

The property comprises two bedrooms, single living area and central bathroom situated over a 269 square metre allotment If the budget is tight, neighbouring suburbs such as Geelong West, South and East Geelong all offer similar period style dwellings of varying quality however miss out on the waterfront lifestyle that makes these suburbs a cut above the rest.

Inner and Outer South East

Portsea has long been held as one of Victoria’s most prestigious addresses, tucked away at the bottom of the Mornington Peninsula. This is a tightly held pocket and property rarely comes up for sale. With a small strip of local shops and pristine beaches it has been a favourite with retirees and prominent business people looking to have a retreat away from the city. It is also home to the annual Portsea Polo, which hosts guests from around the globe.

3732 Point Nepean Road is an example of one of the high-quality homes in the area. The property has a price range of between $6.5 million and $7 million. The house was built circa 1900s and was constructed of limestone, however has been extensively renovated. The home is split over three levels and features a north facing terrace with bay views and a swimming pool. The property also includes vaulted ceilings, exposed beams and an underground wine cellar. Situated in a prime location, the property benefits from private beach access and is only a short walk from Portsea Village.

If looking to purchase a small family home, 55 Elizabeth Road, Portsea can be purchased for within the median house price range which is currently $1.965 million. It is currently on the market for between $1.75 million and $1.9 million. This single level dwelling with five bedrooms and three bathrooms features a large deck as well as a renovated interior. This location however lacks the benefit of being within walking distance of the beach and amenities.

A true entry level property in Portsea would be an apartment within close proximity to the beach and shops. For example 328/3765 Point Nepean Road is currently on the market for $700,000. The apartment is located in the Portsea Village Resort and comprises two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one including laundry facilities) and two undercover car spaces. Amenities include an indoor/outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, and tennis court as well as a restaurant, bar and lounge area. Purchasing an apartment enables the buyer to have access to the beach and amenities, but they must sacrifice space. Given the location, these will always be a good investment due to the many tourists Portsea attracts over summer. Closer to the city, the bayside suburb of Black Rock benefits from its prime beachside location but within a commutable distance to the Melbourne CBD of approximately 18 kilometres.

An example of a grand home is 44 Ebden Avenue, Black Rock, with a selling range of between $6.4 million and $7 million. The five-bedroom, sixbathroom property is only three years old and situated close to cafes, sought after schools, public transport and the beach, and benefits from 180 degree views across Port Phillip Bay. The home features an industrial kitchen, marble bathrooms and foyer, high ceilings, parquetry, indoor gym, heated pool and spa with a sauna.

Within the median price range of $2.2 million, 6A Glenmore Crescent, Black Rock is on the market for between $1.75 million and $1.9 million. The townhouse features four bedrooms and two bathrooms, with high ceilings, a plunge pool and deck. The property is within walking distance of the beach, bus stops and the popular Bay Trail.

If looking to buy into Black Rock at an entry level price, the easiest way is to purchase an apartment. 6/54 Ebden Avenue is currently on the market for $550,000. This apartment contains two bedrooms, one bathroom (with laundry combined) and a modern kitchen with an allocated undercover parking space and is located close to bus stops, cafes and only a block away from the foreshore.

Sandringham is another bayside suburb that has become well known as a prestigious address and is approximately 19 kilometres form the CBD.

1 Southey Street, Sandringham is currently on the market for between $4.55 million and $5 million. The house comprises four bedrooms and four bathrooms, home theatre and self-cleaning pool. It is situated in a prime location close to Sandringham beach, the local yacht club, train station and shopping strip.

A typical family home in the area for sale is 22 McLauchlin Avenue, Sandringham, which has a price range of $1.65 million to $1.725 million. The threebedroom, two-bathroom home built in the 1920s has many period features such as picture rails, coffered ceiling and stained glass bay windows and also features a pool. The location is close to local bus stops and quality schools such as Firbank Grammar, however it is not in close proximity to the beach.

Buying an entry level studio apartment in Sandringham (3.14/18-34 Station Street) will set you back $280,000. The above apartment also comes with a secure underground car park and storage cage. It is only metres from Sandringham station and popular cafes and shops are situated right on the doorstep.

All these sought-after locations have a few things in common; they are all within close proximity to shops, cafes, schools and the beach.

It is clear that if you are on a limited budget, the only way to buy into these sought-after southeastern suburbs is to compromise on space and purchase an apartment. Apartments also make great investments and have the benefit of being in prime locations.

If you are willing to spend a little more, in most suburbs you will be able to purchase a renovated period home. Whilst you may need to sacrifice the views, they are generally still situated within close proximity of the beach and shopping strips and are generally resistant to huge fluctuations in value that we tend to see with higher value properties.

Occasionally in order to buy into these addresses on a tight budget, one must look at purchasing in secondary positions (such as on a busy road), or a run-down fixer upper in order to live in the desired location.

Mildura

Most people would agree that the Murray River is the prime natural feature of the Mildura district and so it is no surprise that our highest value properties tend to enjoy either frontage to or views over the river.

Our Victorian forebears felt that a 60-metre strip of Crown Land should separate the river from privately owned land, while New South Wales has no such restriction. The result is that people go camping on the Victorian side, but aspire to live on the New South Wales side, where they can better enjoy the unrestricted amenity of the river.

It is no surprise then that our best regarded residential locations are mostly in New South Wales, either in the Gol Gol district or between Buronga and Boeill Creek.

The first homes built to capitalise on the river views started to appear in the 1970s and many such homes have been built in the intervening period. Most of the better standard homes with river frontage in Gol Gol now trade for in excess of $1.25 million and larger size vacant lots are typically fetching over $800,000.

For those unable to afford these price tags, options include buying in a secondary location, perhaps with frontage to Gol Gol Creek rather than the Murray River, or buying a smaller block of land in Gol Gol or nearby Buronga with river views. A recent example of the latter is the sale of a 546 square metre lot at Carbone Court in mid 2018 for $585,000. At this size, it is still possible to construct a dwelling with direct access and views of the river, but the narrow frontage restricts the views and the shape of any dwelling.

An example of a sale of an older dwelling with frontage to Go Gol Creek is 4 Wilga Road South, Gol Gol, which sold in early 2018 for $449,000. The property comprised a solid three-bedroom home, likely built in the late 1970s, on a 3,240 square metre lot and enjoying frontage to Gol Gol Creek. This represents a significant discount to what homes within 200 metres which have frontage to the Murray River have sold for in the past.

Echuca

There are several opportunities to buy into a welllocated property within the Echuca-Moama area that are central without costing the earth.

In particular, the eastern side of Echuca where housing costs a fraction of the price of houses located centrally but which might be equally close if not closer than some of the more renowned central streets such as Hopwood and Francis Streets, the old part of Moama, provides plenty of opportunity to purchase older homes for renovation or demolition while being very central to Moama and relatively close to the Echuca CBD. In both instances, larger allotments of more than 1,000 square metres will cost upward of $250,000 but provide unit development potential or the possibility of redevelopment into single residential homes.