Demand for properties remains high in Wellington area

The local real estate market continues to perform strongly, with Melbourne buyers still seeking out local properties and local residents also active in the market.

Tony Kiss from Wellington Real Estate said inquiries for properties remained high.

“There’s a wide spread of people including locals, as well as people from throughout Victoria and Melbourne,” he said.

“A lot of investors are looking for investment properties, especially residential properties.

“There’s a shortage of listings in the rentals and sales areas.”

Mr Kiss said he was still seeing buyers snap up properties sight unseen, despite lockdowns being over.

“Even the higher end stuff -— we get people making decent offers and they haven’t even been to the property,” he said.

“Video walk-throughs have become commonplace.”

Mr Kiss expects the market to stay buoyant while interest rates remain low.

“It’s cheap money for people to borrow,” he said.

“It will continue for some time until we get movement on those interest rates.

“The area is still strong for employment, and I think that helps too.”

Mr Kiss said there was a lack of residential land available locally for people to build on, but there was more in the pipeline.

He said the Cobains Estate was moving ahead, and there was land earmarked in Wurruk for residential development.

Sale-based real estate agent Chris Morrison, from Graham Chalmer Pty Ltd, said he was still “extremely busy”, adding he had seven groups of Melbourne buyers inspecting during the Melbourne Cup long weekend.

“There’s a decent array of people searching for property from inside and outside the area,” he said.

Mr Morrison said as well as housing, buyers were looking for residential and commercial properties to develop.

He has recently had two developer client inquiries from New South Wales.

“Their areas are too expensive to be affordable, and they see good growth potential in the local area,” he said.

Mr Morrison said there continued to be a shortage of stock, with cheaper homes mostly being snapped up by investors, and properties in the $450,000 to $900,000 price bracket largely being sold to owner-occupiers.

He said the market continued to be strong.

“It’s been good for 20 years — it’s been an amazing market for a long period of time.”

Rentals are also being snapped up quickly, with waiting lists for certain types of rentals.

And with some big projects on the horizon locally and more people expected to move to the area to work on those, Mr Morrison expects the robust market to continue for some time.

“The key indicators are exceptionally strong,” he said.

Mr Morrison said perhaps five per cent of buyers were buying properties after inspecting via a video call, or having a relative or family friend viewing on their behalf.

And people were also continuing to move to the area to work remotely.

“Family has become more important to people,” he said.

“People want to move closer to kids and grandkids.”

Loch Sport CShell Real Estate sales agent Renee Potts, said she had been “crazy busy”, although losing power during the Melbourne Cup weekend when there were holidayers in town looking at real estate had proven challenging.

“But we still had quite a few buyers come down,” she said.

Almost two years ago when COVID hit most analysts predicted house prices would fall, many saying the fall would be significant.

“But it did the opposite,” Ms Potts said.

And she predicts the strong market will continue for the time being.

Ms Potts said a few houses and parcels of land were coming on the market, “but they’re just replacing what we’ve sold in the previous week,” she said.

At this stage, she said this year was shaping up to be as busy as last year, with the majority of buyers having bought sight-unseen.

“We are still getting a few local buyers from places like the Latrobe Valley – within easy driving distance,” she said.

But she said for many Melbourne buyers, the final inspection was often the first time they had seen their Loch Sport property – and sometimes the first time they had ever been to Loch Sport.

Ms Potts said a couple of years ago real estate agents had been hesitant to sell to a buyer sight unseen, but now virtual tours were the norm.

“It’s just something we’ve had to get used to,” she added.

Ms Potts is now regularly showing properties over FaceTime and Zoom via her phone, and has found she has to go through everything with potential buyers in a more in-depth way to make sure they are fully informed.

CShell Real Estate also handles holiday rentals, and while some who had booked for the Melbourne Cup weekend did not end up making the trip to Loch Sport because of the wind storm and loss of power, there were now people booking in for Christmas.

Despite lockdowns being a thing of the past, at least for now, Ms Potts said some people were still hesitant to book too far ahead, and were tending to often book last-minute.

“But I believe people are starting to get a bit more positive now that we are hitting targets,” she said.

In Sale, the median sale price is $390,000 — a six per cent increase from the previous quarter, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.

In Maffra, the median is $340,000 (a three per cent increase) and in Stratford, $360,000 (a 0.6 per cent decrease).

REIV’s newly-elected president Adam Docking said a confluence of important events was making regional Victoria more appealing to Victorians.

“The trend in tree or sea change investment and relocation continues, with flexible and hybrid workplace arrangements and lockdowns attracting more people to a regional lifestyle,” he said.

– Julianne Langshaw