The month in review: Regional VIC
By Herron Todd White
Heritage residences tend to be concentrated in central Echuca with a range of period Edwardian and Californian bungalow style residences, many of which retain their original character and design while others have been extended and renovated to feature more contemporary kitchen, meals and living areas. These residences are typically not well suited to the rental market due to the costs associated with the building along with maintenance to a lesser extent. Renovations can be challenging as a result of compliance with the prevailing overlays for everything from colour schemes through to architecture and fencing. There are also multiple older farm houses with heritage features that have strong appeal to the broader market.
Mildura’s early development as an irrigation colony in the late 1800s was done to a budget rather than on the back of a gold rush and as a result most of the early homes and commercial buildings in the region were fairly plain. The initial development was undertaken by the Chaffey brothers who moved from California to establish the irrigation infrastructure and attract settlers and this explains why the layout of the town was planned to American conventions.
Nevertheless there are a handful of heritage residential properties both in and surrounding Mildura. The majority of these were constructed in the early 1900s and most have now been restored. As there are only limited examples of good qualitycharacter dwellings, these properties are thinly traded. When advertised, they generally attract reasonable levels of interest from buyers who are attracted to the character features and generally good positions that these dwellings occupy. In virtually all cases, buyers purchase these properties
to create a family home, rather than to renovate and sell at a profit. A large percentage of buyers are families who move to Mildura from other regions and who often have a higher preference for buying a character home.
Our observation is that the cost of restoring these heritage dwellings is rarely recovered on their sale and that for owners the restoration is seen as a lifestyle choice rather than as an opportunity to make a capital gain.
A recent notable sale of a heritage residence is 25 Chaffey Avenue, Mildura, which sold for $640,000. The residence was constructed circa 1890 and had been renovated and extended over the years, while retaining the original character. The property required an extended marketing period over six months to achieve its sale price, pointing to the limited pool of buyers seeking this type of property.
Bendigo has a rich history dating back to the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s which saw a rapid injection of wealth to the region in a short period of time. The remnants of this boom are still present with an abundance of grand heritage homes scattered across the suburbs of Bendigo ranging from the extravagance of Fortuna Villa to the more modest miners cottages. The heritage housing styles found in Bendigo include miners cottages, Victorian, Federation and inter-war style homes which are dispersed intermittently and in pockets across the
older suburbs of Bendigo, Golden Square, Quarry Hill, Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk.
The heritage housing market in Bendigo is currently in high demand and has seen more growth in the past 18 months than it has in the past ten years. There is a distinct concentration of tightly held high quality heritage homes in the area around Forrest and Barkly Streets where sites have a nice elevation and are close to the centre of Bendigo. Dwellings are typically in a Victorian or Federation style and achieve very solid sale prices towards the higher end of the market. A renovated heritage home attracts a higher sale premium but there is limited evidence of buyers purchasing with the intent to renovate and sell for profit in the inner locales. The most recent example is 39 Barkly Street which sold in March for a record $2.1 million.
The price point of the heritage property market in Bendigo is varied. A modest early Victorian style dwelling can be had for $250,000 in fair condition within two kilometres of the central business district. At the opposite end of the scale a renovated Victorian or Federation style dwelling will cost upwards of $1 million.
A sale of particular note is that of Lansellstowe in late 2015 for $1.85 million. Lansellstowe is a circa 1913 three storey mansion designed by noted local architects Beebe and Garvin in the Italian Renaissance style for prominent mining magnate George Lansell. It comprises 7-bedrooms and 5-bathrooms with rendered brick walls and slate roof with ample open off street parking. The building includes ballroom, gentleman’s lounge, sitting room, rumpus room, cellar and two dining rooms.
Listed below are some recent prestige heritage:
39 Barkly Street – March 2016 – $2.1 million 1850s brick dwelling including 3-bedrooms, 3-bathrooms, cellar and 2-double garages. Fully renovated recently and in very good condition internally and externally.
46 MacKenzie Street – January 2016 – $1.8 million. 1905 Victorian style brick dwelling including 4-bedrooms, 2-bathrooms and 3-car garage. Renovated circa 1990 and becoming dated.
60 Barkly Street – December 2015 – $1.85 million Circa 1913 Italian Renaissance style including 7-bedrooms, 5-bathrooms and two dining rooms. Grand building built by a local mining magnate. In good condition but requires extensive renovations.
121 Wattle Street – November 2015 – $1.65 million Circa 1874 Victorian style brick dwelling including 4-bedrooms, 3-bathrooms and 3-car detached garage. Good internal and external condition.
149 Forrest Street – February 2015 – $1.7125 million Circa 1870 Edwardian style brick dwelling including
4–bedrooms, 2–bathrooms and modern extension. Property renovated prior to sale with good external and internal condition.
124 Forrest Street – February 2015 – $1.31 million Circa 1885 dwelling containing 4-bedrooms and 2-bathrooms. Renovated circa 1980 and requires updating.
Throughout Wellington and Latrobe there are several pockets within townships that contain heritage style dwellings built circa 1920s and 1930s. We mostly see Victorian style dwellings in the vicinity of Macalister
Street, Sale, Henry and Gordon Streets in Traralgon and to a lesser extent, Francis Street in Bairnsdale. Traditional Californian bungalows are also a classic style which are popular in the region and generally do not require long marketing periods. In Baw Baw, heritage style buildings can be found in Albert and
Victoria Streets, within close proximity of the CBD.
Price points for these areas in Traralgon and Sale are in the $400,000 vicinity. Grand facades with elegant finishes and established cottage–style gardens attract buyers who are seeking a home with character. The properties are generally on larger sized allotments in prime locations which also makes them attractive to the market.
Heritage overlays often restrict the design and quite often increase the cost of renovating and refurbishing these properties. A well thought out renovation is quite rewarding. Without being privy to building costs, some heritage style properties can be re-sold for almost double the original purchase price. Renovated heritage style properties do not often appear on the rental market as they are generally owner occupied.
From a valuer’s perspective, it is often difficult to find sales evidence as these properties are generally tightly held. High replacement costs are also a factor when valuing properties of this type, due to heritage overlay limitations and the high quality finishes often used.