By Herron Todd White
Geelong Property Update
The idea of home improvement has been brought to light as of late with the extra time many of the population have had on their hands. Housing within many of the older suburbs in Geelong are at a perfect stage where a renovation or extension is exactly what is needed to revitalise one’s home and bring it back up to scratch with what’s currently trending and sought after in the current property market.
Renovations are widespread across suburbs such as Newtown, Highton, Belmont and Geelong West. With many of homes in Geelong West having heritage overlays enforced the only option for many homeowners or buyers is to fully upgrade and refurbish internally with the front having to be left unscathed. Extending and renovating these heritage listed homes has resulted in some masterpieces which combine timeless and classic architecture with modern materials and an open plan living space which is so prominent in housing in this current day and age.
Renovations obviously vary in price due to the nature of the works being conducted and not always is the amount spent on the renovation translated over to the overall new value of the property. In some cases when done right it can significantly increase the value of a home far greater than the amount spent on the renovation which can be seen by some record breaking renovated houses that have sold in the likes of Geelong West and Newtown over the past few years.
Renovations are less popular in developing areas such as the ever expanding Armstrong Creek and Mount Duneed regions. This is ultimately due to the fact that no renovation or extension is required on these newly constructed homes still in excellent condition.
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Shepparton Property Update
Within the Greater Shepparton LGA, COVID-19 infection rates remained very low throughout lockdown and no new cases have been confirmed in almost a month.
The dilemma that the housing market is facing is a lack of properties offered for sale in almost all price sectors. A majority of agents are begging people to sell their homes as buyers are still out in force and are putting in strong offers. We are one of the few markets in which COVID-19 seems to have had a reversal of logic – that is the outlook for the local market is supposed to be pessimistic given the climate. Thankfully, optimism is prevailing.
Mildura Property Update
As we move through another month of COVID-19, there is a feeling that, in our region at least, we have mostly escaped the virus itself. There were a handful of cases identified in April, but none in the past month and our community can see a path back towards a more normal life. However our economy has been detrimentally affected, with a rise in unemployment resulting from the shut down of many businesses, especially those that rely on tourism or hospitality.
The effects on our housing market are mostly limited at this stage to reduced sales volumes, as vendors and purchasers take time to weigh up the implications. This has been most evident at the middle and upper end of the market. Agents have welcomed a return to being able to hold open inspections, which they hope will provide greater activity and confidence, however it is still too early to know what the lasting effects will be.
Local builders still report being busy completing work that started pre-COVID-19, and a drive around our new subdivisions shows that new construction is underway, however it is expected that the number of new builds will be reduced to some degree over the next 12 months as some people rethink their ability to take on debt at this time.
There is no doubt that many people have had more free time, either through reduced employment or less recreation options on weekends. For many, this time has been devoted to some DIY maintenance in and around their homes. The Bunnings carpark test suggests that home improvement sales have been strong.
Renovating older homes for a profit has not been a common activity in Mildura, in part due to a lack of older homes with enough character to be popular with owner-occupiers. We simply don’t have the stock of pre 1950s homes. There are some scattered examples though and these are usually found in preferred positions on Mildura’s west side or close to the CBD and Murray River.
There is considered to be good potential to renovate homes built in the 1950s and 1960s. These homes are usually conite clad, which was a building technique popular in Mildura, but rarely found elsewhere. Many examples have reasonably large rooms and the ability to extend in a complementary way. A well renovated home from this era will fetch similar values to new homes built in a new subdivision, but comes with the benefit of larger land size and superior position.
For those after a less expensive challenge, there is also the potential to modernise homes built in the 1980s. This is considered a good option for owner-occupiers. With many local tradespeople and suppliers of floor coverings, kitchen cabinetry etc. less busy at present, now may be a good time to do this upgrading.