A Yarra Valley town is Victoria’s hardest housing market to buy into.
With only a handful of house sales each year and lifestyle lures residents don’t want to leave, Don Valley is a tough nut for buyers to crack.
The latest Victorian Valuer-General figures show just three houses changed hands in the town, 70km east of Melbourne’s CBD, in the year to September 30.
This easily made it the state’s lowest turnover market, followed by Wye River on the Great Ocean Rd with eight annual house sales.
Nine houses transacted in Cann River, in East Gippsland, and Gunbower, on the NSW border, and 10 in Lismore, Noojee and MCG-adjacent Jolimont, according to the Valuer-General.
Professionals Yarra Junction director Ashleigh Hall said Don Valley was “definitely not an area where houses turn over very often”.
“Once people are there, there’s no reason for them to leave,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful spot in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, where the Don River and Yarra River meet.”
Mr Hall said Don Valley’s affordable housing and large blocks were also drawing demand from buyers from Melbourne’s outer east.
The latest census showed the town had 224 private dwellings housing a population of 576 in 2016.
Most of these were on at least half an acre (0.2ha), with hobby farms of 2-4ha and larger farms also prominent, Mr Hall said.
It’s had too few sales to generate an accurate median price, but property data firm CoreLogic lists its most recent house transactions as being worth $441,000 and $835,000. The latter involved a Don Rd home that had been held by its owners for about 27 years.
Before Mark and Jane Stanley moved into their Don Valley home a decade ago, they would regularly drive past the 3.6ha hobby farm and dream of owning it.
“We’d always wanted a few acres,” Ms Stanley said.
They’d loved the views — “you can see Mount Toolebewong straight out the front door,” Mr Stanley said — and quiet lifestyle close to all the shops and services they needed in nearby Healesville and Yarra Junction.
The Stanleys renovated the four-bedroom house at 5 Farm Lane and installed a pool, shed, and fencing on the grounds. They’re now reluctantly selling the property, with $990,000-$1.06 million price hopes, to upsize to more land.
Further CoreLogic figures show Clarinda homeowners are holding on to their houses longer than any others in Victoria — an average of 23.6 years.
Century 21 director Con Katos said it made no sense for residents to leave “a good-sized block and a house with character” in the family-friendly southeastern suburb, with an affordable $800,000 house median.
Average hold periods also topped 20 years in Balnarring Beach, Vermont South, Keilor Park, Boort, Avondale Heights and Nelson.