Sales activity in Bellarine and Torquay grows significantly in March quarter
New quarterly research released by RPM Real Estate Group pinpoints the moment COVID-19 put the brakes on the Victorian property market mid-March, before which buyer activity and new home sales had been gaining solid momentum for three months.
RPM’s Q1 Residential Market Review shows the property market on pause for a period of two weeks immediately following the federal government’s declaration of a national state of emergency.
However, before this critical turning point, the data showed the market had been tracking well in an upward trajectory after bottoming out in April 2019.
The established house price had risen by 12.5 per cent while the unit price had risen by 9.3 per cent from the corresponding quarter a year earlier.
The state had been on a firm path to recovery, experiencing an 18-month high in lot sales in February 2020.
Sales activity in both Bellarine Peninsula and Torquay achieved significant quarterly growth in March quarter 2020 of 28 per cent and 67 per cent respectively.
This resulted in total gross sales of 86 lots in Bellarine Peninsula and 25 lots in Torquay over the three-month period.
RPM director Luke Kelly said that interestingly, movements in buyer preferences differed, with demand shifting to larger lots in Bellarine Peninsula highlighted by the 9 per cent increase in its median lot size to 499sqm.
“Conversely, lot demand shifted to smaller lots in Torquay, as the median lot size diminished by 8 per cent to 448sqm.
“Nevertheless, the median lot price in Torquay of $415,000 remained notably more expensive compared to the corresponding figure for Bellarine Peninsula of $334,000 with both sitting above that of the total Melbourne Growth Corridor.”
Mr Kelly said both the median price and median size of lots sold indicated upgrader and downsizer/seachange households constituted most of the demand for new houses locally.
RPM survey data shows the median age of purchasers across both regions was 46 years of age, with empty nester and older couple with children households each accounting for about 30 per cent of buyers.
Most buyers originated from the wider Greater Geelong municipality area.
“This is an important fact since the relatively more affordable property values in Geelong’s established residential market are expected to be impacted less by weak purchaser sentiment attributed to deteriorating economic and employment conditions compared to Melbourne,” Mr Kelly said.
“What will also be interesting to see is whether the pandemic will change buyer preferences. If working from home becomes the norm, we’d expect lifestyle destinations such as the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula to become more popular, as people become less concerned with living close to the city for work.
“In this scenario, we would expect the Greater Geelong property market, which contains great transport linkages to Melbourne and all key amenity locally to service its population needs, to benefit from increased buyer activity.”