The Age July 2008
Holiday over as beach house listings double
THE holiday could be over for beach house owners as coastal
properties close to Melbourne flood the market.
There were double the number of houses for sale in the June quarter in
bayside suburbs such as Rosebud West, and in parts of East Gippsland,
than in the same period last year, according to property researcher RP
Agents warn that the heady days of frenzied bidding and huge prices for
weekenders in Sorrento and Portsea are over. Property observers say the
downturn suggests that interest rates and price rises are starting to
Listing numbers for bayside suburbs such as Safety Beach and McCrae have
risen significantly. Rosebud West has had the biggest increase, up 125%
from 32 to 72 houses, followed by Blairgowrie, up 23%, with 85 houses
listed compared with 69 last year. In eastern Victoria, Lakes Entrance
had 112 houses for sale compared with 62 in the same period last year.
Listings in townships such as Golden Beach and Paradise Beach have also
But there was a slight drop in the number of houses for sale on the Surf
Coast. Agents along the Great Ocean Road said towns such as Torquay had
a more stable population, and holiday investors were "in it for the long
"The areas that you'll see people selling are in the Mornington
Peninsula," said buyers' advocate Christopher Koren. "If people have
borrowed to go down to places like that and they're paying bigger
mortgages for a beach house, they're going to want to cough up and
concentrate on their principal residence."
RP Data analyst Tim Lawless said owners could be reacting to higher
interest payments and sharemarket losses by cutting out non-essential
assets. Other holiday spots in Australia also recorded a jump in the
number of properties for sale, including Byron Bay and Terrigal in NSW,
and Surfers Paradise. Rye real estate agent Daniel Kavanagh said holiday
house owners seemed to be deserting the market. Last year "there were
heaps of buyers. Now they've gone … and the prices should stabilise."
Median house prices in Sorrento and Blairgowrie grew 31% and 48%
respectively between June 2007 and this March, according to the Real
Estate Institute of Victoria, compared with a 5% increase in
metropolitan Melbourne, which experienced a sharp drop after December.
"The buyers have gone, unless you're selling a triple-A beachside real
estate that appeals to that group of people that always have
discretionary money - lawyers, doctors, surgeons," Mr Koren said.