Town by town snapshot: Lorne

December 31, 2020 BY

The size of Lorne is approximately 104.7 square kilometres with the population of Lorne recorded at 1,393 in 2011 and by the 2016 Census the population was 1,120 showing a population decline of 19.6% in the area during that time.

Numbers swell to over 10,000 people during the summer holiday season and the easter period, placing a lot of pressure on infrastructure but great for local businesses.

As Barwon Heads is to the Bellarine, so is Lorne to the Surf Coast, both the jewel in their crown when it comes to premium beachside living and a holiday destination.

Although Lorne has seen a declining permanent population there has been an increase in housing stock as every inch of the landlocked town is put to use.

Many old beach houses have been replaced with grandiose holiday homes pushing property prices through the roof in this popular resort town.

Earlier this year 1 Roadknight Street was sold for $7,250,000 setting a new record for the coast.

Lorne’s origins began with a small pastoral holding being established there in 1852 when the Mountjoy family acquired the run in 1874 and built a permanent homestead.

Known as Loutitt Bay, the area had the appeal of tree fern gullies, the Erskine River and falls, the river estuary and a beach.

In 1868 the Mountjoys opened a guest house for the increasing numbers of visitors.

The following year a town was surveyed and named Lorne in honour of the Marquis of Lorne, the husband of Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria.

A road from Deans Marsh to Lorne was built in 1872 and Erskine House, the grand Pacific Hotel and the Lorne Hotel were built by 1878.

Lorne’s census population doubled between the mid-1930’s and 1947 and the provision of camping and caravan grounds brought different crowds.

By the 1980’s seven guest houses were closed, leaving only Erskine House and the Chalet.

In 1984 a Colac property developer, David Marriner, acquired the Cumberland guest house..

Multi-storey time share units were built on the Cumberland and adjoining sites, despite local resistance which considered the development an intrusion in the tree lined amphitheatre.

CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in Lorne is 60-69 years with households in Lorne being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,800 – $2,399 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Lorne work in a managers occupation.

In 2011, 69.4% of the homes in Lorne were owner-occupied compared with 65% in 2016.

 AGENT PERSPECTIVE: The lifestyle and leisure markets have never been stronger and as reported recently, through the last twelve months, the first four of the top five residential house sales on the Surf Coast were all concluded in Lorne, two of those in excess of the previous Lorne house price record set only 6 months earlier – amazing strength.” Ian Stewart, Director, Great Ocean Road Real Estate

TIDBIT: In 1846, surveyor George Smythe had the name Louttit Bay registered at Superintendent Latrobe’s office in Melbourne


Population: 1,120

Male: 48.8%

Female: 51.2%

Median age: 53

5 year population change: -19.6%

Median house price: $1,460,000

Change in Median Price: (5yrs) is 72%

Median asking rent per week: $490

Average length of ownership: 12 years

Owner occupiers: 67%

Renters: 33%

Historic median house price:

September 2020: $1,460,000

September 2019: $1,150,000

September 2018: $1,138,000

September 2017: $1,125,000

September 2016: $840,500

House sales per annum:

Period ending September 2020: 47

Period ending September 2019: 31

Land median sale price:

September 2020: N/A

September 2019: N/A

Land sales per annum:

Period ending September 2020: 5

Period ending September 2019: 3

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