The lure of a country lifestyle and affordability are driving strong local house price growth and defying Melbourne’s property market downturn.
Latest data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria reveals median house prices shot up about 20 per cent in Whittlesea, Wollert, Mernda, Doreen and Epping.
The municipalities are among 70 Melbourne suburbs bucking the cooling trend to record double-digit growth in median house prices in the 12 months to September.
They outperformed wider Melbourne, which recorded a 5 per cent increase in its median house price to $834,000 in the same period.
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Whittlesea was a star performer, coming in fourth on the list after Millgrove, Dallas and Elwood.
The median price in Whittlesea climbed 22.1 per cent to hit $605,000 from 61 house sales.
Wollert’s median lifted 15.2 per cent to $602,450 from 165 sales and Mernda’s median rose 15 per cent to $582,000 from 254 transactions.
In Doreen, 404 house sales saw its median price jump 12.6 per cent to $630,000, and in Epping the median increased 11.6 per cent to $632,000 with 259 houses changing hands.
REIV president Robyn Waters said affordability was a key reason these suburbs were still enjoying strong growth.
“It’s not all doom and gloom,” she said.
“These markets are still quite viable as people, particularly first-home buyers, are having to move further out.”
Tom Egan Real Estate’s Tom Egan said there had been excellent growth in the Whittlesea market in the past year because of rising demand for the country lifestyle.
“Whittlesea is surrounded by a green wedge zone and offers rural lifestyle properties sought-after by families,” he said.
“It also has a variety of smaller affordable homes which attract entry-level buyers.”
Mr Egan pointed to the four-bedroom house on a 702sq m block at 37 James St that sold in August to a family wanting to upsize to a larger allotment.
The buyers splashed $720,000 on the home within walking distance of schools, shops and parks.
Mr Egan said the sellers paid $360,000 for the property in 2015.
“The price has jumped $360,000 in three years or $120,000 a year,” he said.
Ray White Epping’s Vanya Kostur said Wollert was an affordable suburb offering a diverse range of modern homes.
Good access to public transport, shops, schools, parks and community facilities was also a drawcard.
“It is close to the developing Northern Hospital, Pacific Epping shopping centre and Costco, which creates jobs in the area,” Ms Kostur said.
First-home buyers and investors looking for a bargain were driving the market in Wollert.
“Strong capital growth and rising demand for rental properties are drawing investors to the area,” Ms Kostur said.
Properties were selling quickly, with some snapped up before auction.
A five-bedroom house at 2 Carisbrook View was on the market for three weeks before it sold before auction for $725,000.
Ms Kostur said the market in Wollert was showing no signs of slowing.
“We are still seeing good numbers at opens (house inspections) and if the property is well priced, the buyers will be there,” she said.
SUBURB PROFILE: WHITTLESEA,WOLLERT