Regional VIC August 2018

The month in review: Regional VIC

By Herron Todd White
August 2018


Mildura in 1968 was obviously much smaller than today and at the time had an economy which was very reliant on the surrounding patchwork of small dried fruit properties. We know that people lived in smaller houses than are commonly built now and that families rarely owned more than one car. There were no TV shows about doing house renovations and there were fewer real estate agents (and valuers!).

New homes constructed around that time were mostly around 10 to 12 squares in size (metric measurements still hadn’t been thought of), with only one bathroom and generally constructed with either conite or cement sheet cladding. There are some examples of brick homes built in the late 1960s, but these were the minority. Timber floors were the only option. Concrete slab flooring would not be widely adopted for another ten years.

While these houses lacked architectural flair, home builders at the time realised the importance of eaves in aiding energy efficiency and also knew to orientate houses in a north facing direction. In many ways some of the 1960s housing was more suited to our hot summers than what we see being built today.

Houses from this era currently sell for between $160,000 and $200,000 in some of the lesser areas of Mildura and for between $225,000 and $275,000 in the better locations.

While our records don’t stretch back to the late 1960s, a bit of research reveals that a 3-bedroom house at 23 Floral Avenue East sold in 1970 for $7,000, with the land component probably about $3,000. This house resold in 1979 for $29,000. One of our colleagues purchased a 1930s built weatherboard house in the nearby town of Red Cliffs in 1967 for $12,000, which was subsequently sold in 1999 for $81,000.

There were a number of residential unit complexes built in the late 1960s and most of these are still in existence. Most of these complexes are held by investors, although a few were subsequently converted to a strata title. They continue to enjoy good occupancy levels but are not as popular as newer townhouse style developments which have larger rear yard areas, larger living areas and usually undercover parking for two cars.


Ballarat is a city with an old soul; it’s a city which in 1968 was already over 100 year old. By 1968 it had already seen a gold rush, a rebellion, a depression and two world wars. It was in the midst of ongoing angst about its involvement in Vietnam, but still excited that hotel closing hours had been extended.

From a property perspective the suburbs of Alfredton, Ballarat North, Sebastopol and Wendouree were the new kids on the block. I’m sure you could have witnessed spirited debate raging at Craig’s back bar that houses past the Arch of Victory, south of Hertford Street or north of Howitt Street were far too far from town and perhaps even that the new blocks would take a long time to sell. You may have been able to get a bottle of milk from Delacombe Town Centre at the time, but you may have had to BYO bottle, catch a cow and milk it.

Hindsight has proved both arguments false. These suburbs have since and continue to provide a bed, a bath and park and a place to call home for thousands of families.

Many things have however changed. The new areas of the city such as Lucas, Winter Valley and Delacombe still provide homes for families, however the lot sizes have fallen from an average of around 1,000 square metres to around 500 square metres.

The size of dwellings has also moved but in the opposite direction. An average size new dwelling is now around 200 square metres. This has increased from an average size of around 130 square metres. Most new dwellings now have two bathrooms, double garages and alfresco areas. In 1969 these features were considered absolute luxury and very few families had two cars to fill the double garage.

There are two sections of the Ballarat property market which were almost non existent in 1968. One which is now exceedingly popular is the rural lifestyle market. In 1968, the vast majority of the population lived in town and those who did not lived on agricultural properties which were farmed by the family to earn a living. A hybrid of these two lifestyles has emerged over the past 20 to 30 years and is known as rural residential or rural lifestyle. These properties are typically five to 50 acres in size and are located on the fringes of the built up areas of Ballarat. The owners typically do not farm the land and work in town each day but enjoy the peace, views and space these properties afford. The popularity of this style of property has become such that some of the district’s highest valued properties fall into this category in areas such as Invermay and Buninyong.

Likewise in Ballarat in 1968, there were very few units, townhouses or apartments. This was due to the ample amount of space in the area for people to come and set up a life. There were a couple of unit complexes in the inner CBD area which were built at the time and these were often used as accommodation for hospital staff, religious orders or short term hotel style accommodation. It would be false to say the multi level apartment market has exploded in Ballarat in the ensuing decades. There have been some new developments which have met various levels of triumph and disaster, however in general, in comparison to similar sized cities such as Bendigo and Geelong, Ballarat has conspicuously less multi level unit developments. We consider this is for the same reason they were not built in 1968; the residents of Ballarat regard space highly and seek it above many other factors in making purchasing decisions. As the city continues to grow and become a satellite city of Melbourne we would be surprised if the supply and demand in this market does not increase dramatically.

Bass Coast Shire

The major change over the years for detached housing on Phillip Island is the decreasing lot size within new subdivisions . In the past, the average lot size ranged between 650 and 750 square metres however in comparison we are seeing the average lot size in new subdivisions of around 500 to 550 square metres with lots as small as 300 square metres. In terms of construction, dwellings are being built to maximize the building envelope with less focus on yard size in some areas, particularly in the coastal areas due to the market appealing to the holiday and investor market.

In terms of construction material used in new dwellings, less homes comprise brick construction compared to 50 years ago with many new constructions comprising a mix of brick veneer and light weight composite or imitation weatherboard cladding .


DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.