Downhill skiing in the morning, water skiing in the afternoon: East Gippsland has the lot
March 14, 2012 1 Comment
I reckon a nationwide poll would find about 1 per cent of people could pinpoint Paynesville or Bairnsdale on a map of Australia. Even Melbournites, who are within a three-hour drive of the East Gippsland region, struggle to place these towns.
Yet the region is one of Australia’s special places, with an environment unmatched by anything else I’ve seen in the country.
It offers lifestyle, affordability and growth, a combination with appeal to home buyers as well as investors.
This is a region where a series of broad rivers feed into the Gippsland Lakes, one of Australia’s largest lakes systems, which includes Lake Victoria and Lake King.
It’s paradise for boaties who like safe waters, fishing and spectacular birdlife, with black swans, cormorants and pelicans in abundance.
Ninety Mile Beach separates the lakes from the Tasman Sea.
Another part of the appeal is proximity to the mountains and winter skifields. Metung real estate agent John Miles, director of First National King & Heath, never gets tired of telling people they can be snow skiing at Mount Hotham in the morning and water skiing on the lakes in the afternoon.
The feature that grabs my attention is the solidity of real estate performance. Long-term growth averages for the key locations in this region are good: Paynesville 11 per cent, Sale 12 per cent, Bairnsdale 10 per cent, Lakes Entrance 10 per cent.
Another attraction is affordability, with median house prices ranging from $235,000 at Bairnsdale to $285,000 at Sale and $310,000 at Paynesville.
Both Paynesville and Metung depend on retirement and tourism and often they don’t translate into strong capital growth.
But it’s the relationship with nearby regional centres that gives impetus to the lakes towns. Many residents of Metung and Paynesville work in Bairnsdale or Sale, both solid and expanding economies, and some work on the gas rigs in Bass Strait.
Education, health and tourism are key employment industries in Bairnsdale (population 12,000), while Patties Pies, which claims 15 per cent of the national pie market, has trebled the size of its Bairnsdale manufacturing plant since 2008. Bairnsdale is the seat of local government for the Shire of East Gippsland.
Sale, capital of Wellington Shire with a population of 13,000, has an RAAF base that is undergoing expansion, the Nylex plastics factory and Esso’s Longford gas plant. It services a major area for agriculture.
The real estate landscape in both Paynesville and Metung has been transformed by developments by Riviera Properties, which has developed canal real estate at Paynesville and a new community with golf course and marinas at Metung. They’ve been helped by ongoing improvements to road connections between Melbourne and East Gippsland that have shortened travelling times.
At Paynesville, the gradual evolution of the lakeside canals has been happening since the 1980s and is entering its final stages.
Capital growth performance has been good. Agent Joan Carter of First National King & Heath says prices in Paynesville are driven by what happens on the waterfront.
Two waterfront homes have sold for about that price in the past 12 months. The town record is $2.35m for a waterfront home.
One waterfront block sold for $105,000 in 1996 and resold last year for $590,000, showing capital growth averaging 12.2 per cent a year over 15 years. Any investor would be happy with that kind of performance.
Away from the water, houses are a lot more affordable.
“You can buy a house here for $210,000 and right up to $1.Sm,” Carter says.
“There are a number of new subdivisions happening at the moment. That’s attractive for first home buyers because it’s affordable land and you can get a combined grant of $26,000 to build a new home.
“What they are paying in rent would pay off a home.” Carter says one buyer, a Melbourne resident, had been considering a city suburban home site for $450,000 but instead opted for a waterfront block in Paynesville for $379,000. “He couldn’t believe he could buy waterfront for that price,” she says.
Source: Australian, 08 March 2012