Surf Coast seachange surge sees median house prices hit $1m

Local buyer: 214 Grossmans Road, Torquay. Asking price: $3.3m-$3.5m. Sold: Undisclosed.

The cost to make a sea-change to the Surf Coast has reached a new level as the region’s population swells during another Covid lockdown.

New data reveals the median house price in the Surf Coast Shire hit $1 million for the first time in May.

The Hometrack figures, which are based on sales over the previous 12 months, show the median house price jumped 16.9 per cent to $1,002,525.





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Only the Borough of Queenscliffe ($1.3 million) has a higher median house price for a Victorian coastal municipality, while the Mornington Peninsula Shire, which is home Victoria’s most expensive coastal communities, has a median house price of $969,500.

While there has been a documented exodus of people from Melbourne to the coast since the breakout of Covid-19 in Australia, Torquay agent Tim Carson suggested that local residents who were upgrading to better homes were also having a big influence on rising prices.

Mr Carson, of McCartney Real Estate, said most of the rise in house prices had occurred since November, after Melbourne’s longest Covid lockdown had been lifted.

Local buyer: 155 Bones Road, Bells Beach. Asking price: $2.95m. Sold: Undisclosed.

He said prices had also surged after Easter this year and the latest seven-day circuit breaker lockdown was expected to provide a similar stimulus as people weighed the lack of international travel opportunities with the chance to secure a better home near the water.

Sellers were cashing in on high competition, with many homes selling above asking prices in Torquay especially.

Mr Carson said many Surf Coast retirees had decided to relocate to warming climates like Queensland amid the pandemic, giving locals the chance to sell to Melbourne buyers and upgrade locally.

High rent prices, driven by historically tight rental vacancy rates, meant it had also become cheaper to buy than rent on the coast as buyers weighed up the cost of record low interest rates.

Local buyer: 155 Bones Road, Bells Beach. Asking price: $2.95m. Sold: Undisclosed.

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Mr Carson said between 60 and 70 per cent of buyers were from outside the area, including Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and country Victoria, though many of the bigger sales went to locals.

“What it means locally is a lot of people that moved down here during Covid and have been renting and have absolutely loved it have decided not to go back,” he said.

“There has been a lot of that people who have been originally from Melbourne but have moved here during Covid and rented.

“They’ve just enjoyed it so much.”

Along the coast, Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Bellbrae, Jan Juc and Lorne have median house prices above $1 million, with Torquay — which accounts for around half the municipality’s total sales — rising to $930,000.

Prices are also rising on the Bellarine Peninsula, where Barwon Heads, Queenscliff and Wallington have median house prices above $1.2m, and prices rising up to 20 per cent in a year at Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale.

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