Business

Sun shines again on coastal property prices

Are you enjoying long summer days at that idyllic beach holiday retreat, wondering if the sun is also shining on your coastal property investment?

After years of doing it tough following the global financial crisis, holiday homes are starting to pick up again in value, according to property data firm CoreLogic RP Data.

Holiday homes are usually seen as a discretionary asset so in bad economic times prices slump.

"From 2008 all the way to 2013-14 most of these markets were tracking back in value, but now we've been seeing for at least the last year that demand is coming back," CoreLogic head researcher Tim Lawless said.

A recovery in people's personal wealth, healthier share portfolio's and substantial rise in Melbourne and Sydney property prices were prompting purchasers to splash out on a beach home, he said.

Property within easy commuting distance from big cities was the prime target.

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Values in the green and hilly coastal areas of Victoria's Gippsland region slumped after the GFC and have only just started to recover. Home prices in Venus Bay have risen by 14 per cent over the past five years, still well below the substantial rises seen in Melbourne.

Property prices on the Bass Coast, which takes in Venus Bay and larger towns like Inverloch and Wonthaggi, escaped the ravages of the GFC on the back of an economic uplift from the construction of the huge state-sponsored desalination plant, the largest in the southern hemisphere.

When construction finished, prices slumped. They have since stabilised and were starting to rise again, Alex Scott & Staff director Jo Ginn said. "There's a lot selling now."

But across the entrance to Port Phillip Bay on the state's surf coast, values in Apollo Bay (which narrowly missed the Christmas bushfires) have also barely shifted over the same period, rising a minimal 2.8 per cent.

Great Ocean Properties Apollo Bay director Cate Thomas said the recent fires had not affected the desire for properties in Apollo Bay and surrounds.

"We have four properties on sale in Wye River, Separation Creek and Kennett River," Ms Thomas said. "They range from a block of land worth $350,000 to a $1.8 million house."

Ms Thomas said they had already had four inquiries for the properties since Christmas Day. "I have no reason to believe that we will not be able to sell it this season," she said.

"Apollo Bay and surrounding areas are very cheap compared to other coastal areas and we are feeling quite positive."

In Portsea, just over an hour from Melbourne, Sarah Laidlaw is confident her four-bedroom house in the prestigious Point Nepean Road area will do well on the market.

Listed last summer, the cliff-top house with direct access to Fisherman's Beach, is for private sale through Peninsula Sotheby's International Reality for $7.5 million dollars.

Ms Laidlaw, who is based in Melbourne, said there had been some interest in their holiday house of five years.

"Two of our boys are based in the United States, so we like to visit them," she said. "A lot of the time we don't use it, so we were thinking it is probably time to sell. We'll buy again down the track when there are lots of grandchildren, and we'll use it more."

She said it was a perfect time to sell because of the weather. "It is summer and we have a beautiful views and all the boats are out," she said. "It looks stunning."

Ms Laidlaw said there seemed to be a lot of money going in redeveloping, rebuilding and renovating in the area.

Batemans Bay LJ Hooker real estate agent Rob Routledge said sales in the idyllic New South Wales coastal town had been strong throughout winter, normally a quiet time of the year.

"It seems to be continuing on," Mr Routledge said. "We've had a lot of Sydney investors coming down and buying properties."

"They get swayed by the natural beauty of the place, it's not congested like Sydney," he said.

Investors were snapping up beachside homes on the premise they could get two or three properties for the price of an average Sydney home where the median price peaked above a record $1 million this year (2015).

But they will be lucky to get the same capital growth for their beachside pad.

Prices in Batemans Bay have drifted sideways, falling 1.4 per cent over the past five years, according to CoreLogic data.

Retirees to the area usually purchased a larger home with sizeable garden where they lived for about 10 years before downsizing, a trend which kept the market turning over, Mr Routledge said.

Over the same period prices in the NSW seaside municipality of Greater Taree have risen substantially. Great Lakes local government area in the mid north coast and Noosa in Queensland also performed strongly.

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