As the mercury rises, the eyes of the real estate market shifts from the city to the big, blue horizon.
Summer is when oceanside properties shine and the appeal of a pad that is nestled just metres from the sand may be not just for the holidays, but a permanent proposition.
Some agents in popular coastal villages are reporting that more sea changers have been buzzing around the market – like seagulls on a hot chip – looking to make the move from the big smoke to the ocean front.
Just as the baby boomers – who are often downsizers – have been active in the city apartment market, so too are they responsible for the keen interest around properties at some of Victoria’s most picture postcard perfect beaches.
Overall, the mood among coastal agents and their vendors is bouyant and not solely because the skin-prickling sunshine, cold drinks and weekend barbecues at this time of year have everyone in good spirits.
They are prepping for the upcoming Australia Day weekend, which is the traditional sweet spot for selling beach property under the hammer.
Great Ocean Road Properties director Ian Lawless feels confident about the Anglesea real estate market after improvements to prices and turnover over the past year.
Anglesea is a long-time popular holiday spot for families but increasingly, is blooming into a lifestyle destination for seachangers.
Unlike Ocean Grove and Torquay, local agents say Anglesea retains its holiday-town feel as it is bounded by a national park, with limited new land for release.
Mr Lawless said the number of $1 million-plus sales had soared from four in 2013 to 13 in 2014, with his office completing more off-market transactions than previous years.
“Anglesea is a discretionary market so a lot of people come into the market when they feel confident,” Mr Lawless said.
Flinders on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula may not have the posh status of the millionaires’ playgrounds of Portsea or Sorrento, but it still lures the rich and famous.
The coastal town has been home to identities such as businessman John Elliott and singer John Farnham, both of whom previously owned properties on the swish Spindrift Avenue.
Local agents, including RT Edgar director Michael Phoenix, say although the selling season has just started, they have seen more buyers coming back into Flinders, which could translate into prices growth.
“We are seeing more buyers aged in their late 30s and 40s than in previous years,” he said.
“More people are looking to live there permanently because our part of the peninsula is a lot more accessible to Melbourne now the Peninsula Link has opened.”
On the south-west coast, Lorne’s permanent population has declined over the past 20 years, but the property market in and around the resort village, including Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven, Anglesea and Point Roadknight, is buoyed by Melbourne-based buyers acquiring weekender properties so they can divide their time between the sea and the city.
Hodges agent Simone Chin expects stock to come on to the market in Lorne even post-summer, when some families prefer to list to so they can have one last holiday at a beloved beach house.
Given Lorne’s long history as a coastal getaway, family ties and an emotional connection to the area are a powerful lure for prospective buyers.
“People who have childhood memories of Lorne or parents who have been coming to Lorne for quite a long are coming back,” Ms Chin said.
Ms Chin said ocean views are naturally always sought-after, but the quieter forest areas outside the township, near the Great Otway National Park, with waterfalls nature walks, and are growing in cachet and demand.
Tip for choosing a sun drenched destination
- Victoria’s coastal hamlets have distinctive characteristics: Inverloch is renowned for fishing and boating, Sorrento has city-quality boutique shopping and Flinders is a glamour postcode for sun-chasing buyers with deep pockets who want to avoid some of Portsea and Sorrento’s bustle and commercialism.
- You will pay a premium for ocean glimpses. Determine if this is a priority that is within your budget.
- The downsizer and baby boomer market may want to consider property that is within walking distance to village shops, for ease and convenience. Look for real estate that allows you to make the most of the sea change by moseying to the corner store, and leaving the car at home.
- Some families will celebrate one last holiday at their beach home before parting with it, so look to post-summer listings if you are still in the market.