Melbourne buyers                 on their way

August 24th, 2020Melbourne buyers on their way

MELBOURNE residents, tired of lockdown and now realising they can work from home, are beating a path to the Central Highlands, real estate agents have told The Local.

Biggin & Scott Daylesford principal Michael DeVincentis said the market had been strong with many people looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Melbourne “and everything the pandemic has caused down there”.
“From my training years ago as an architect, 75 per cent of city people dreamed of moving to the country but only 30 per cent ever gave it a go. Everyone has the dream but now with this situation they are forced to make a decision and are finally living the dream of moving to the country.”
Mr DeVincentis said he had a few great properties on his books including the newly-listed Continental House in Hepburn Springs and The Mayfair in Daylesford.
“There are also a few more at Hepburn and we are always getting more coming up with 10-15 in the pipeline. People are just waiting to see what happens with lockdown and of course, people from Melbourne can’t come here and even locally, people are waiting. But we have certainly sold all our existing stock and the demand hasn’t dropped in terms of the number of sales. The people who are looking are serious.”
McQueen Broadhurst director Robert Broadhurst said the company was stockpiling a few homes waiting for Melbourne’s Stage 4 lockdown to finish on September 14.
But some savvy vendors were beating the rush with four properties sold in the past seven days, with prices ranging from $660,000 to $2.68 million.
“It’s a two-tiered market here. Properties over one million are generally being sourced by out of town buyers but not all from Melbourne.
“One we recently sold was Stone and Straw on the Midland Highway on the way to Castlemaine – with an asking price of $1.55 million. We were going to hold off on that but a buyer came along.”
Mr Broadhurst said when the lockdown restrictions were lifted in June and the start of July, there had been “a tsunami” of people coming up to the region to look at property. And it would happen again when the lockdown was lifted again.
“Kim (McQueen) and I have a lot of agent friends in Melbourne and they have told us they are selling properties for people who want to move to the country for good. They want out.
“This new way of working via remote with things like Zoom and Snapchat, that has just brought the whole thing forward with a lot of people liking the idea of living, working and bringing up their families in the country.
“In the past they have put up roadblocks like waiting for their children to finish high school or waiting until they retire, but COVID has a silver lining which has been showing people what a lovely place to live and work regional Victoria is, compared to being locked up in an apartment in Melbourne.”
Mr Broadhurst also said new technology meant people in Melbourne could view homes via 360 degree photography tours and even Facetime.
Belle Property Daylesford real estate agent Gary Cooke said the market had been really busy with Melbourne buyers who were realising the city was not the best place to be living.
“They can be living in the country, have a great lifestyle, be a stone’s throw from the city and not have to pay city mortgages. We have a huge amount of interest from Melbourne buyers and over the past week and a half I have sold four properties – and of those I have sold two to people looking at the houses purely online.
“I have heard of these purchases happening in the city before with an expat wanting to come home and getting a buyer’s advocate to look at a property for them, but up here I can’t say it is particularly common. It hasn’t happened with me before and the fact that it has happened twice in a week is fascinating.”
Meanwhile, Daylesford Mineral Springs Real Estate Agents director Luma Whitehead said there had been a huge demand for permanent rental properties in the region.
Ms Whitehead said that since the first lockdown, people from both Melbourne and interstate had been showing keen interest in renting. Many of the holiday rentals had been taken off the holiday market and converted to permanent rentals, she said.
“When that first lockdown ended, the weekend market went through the roof, and some people were not even coming here for just a weekend, they were staying for a week or two.
“With the second lockdown not so many holiday properties have gone down the permanent rental road because they know what will happen when it lifts again. But that means there is a real shortage of permanent rental properties. I am a small-time operator but I have let out five rentals in the past six or seven weeks. The quickest turnaround was three days and the longest was probably two weeks just because you have to check references.”
Ms Whitehead said the average weekly rental had been around $350 a week but the last property she had leased, a two-bedroom home, had been snapped up for $440 per week.
NB: The next edition of House.Land.Home.Premium is out on October 26.
Words: Donna Kelly & Kyle Barnes

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