Can rebooted SeaChange spark another surge to Geelong lifestyle properties?
THE television series SeaChange left an indelible mark on the Geelong region, particularly the property market.
But can the reboot which hit screens this week have the same impact on the property market as the original which sparked a wave of Melbourne families to quit the city for coast or country?
RT Edgar, Barwon Heads director Peter Molloy, who was starting out in real estate when the first series aired in 1998, said families had continued to move to the Bellarine Peninsula long after the original series finished.
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“Nobody knew where Barwon Heads was,” Mr Molloy said.
“They didn’t know there was a back road in to Barwon Heads because they’d all go to Ocean Grove.
“With the second series, with the filming probably more visual, it took off,” he said.
CoreLogic shows the seachange effect had never really slowed.
It cost about $150,000 for a house in Barwon Heads in 2000.
Today it’s ballooned to $930,000 — a six-fold increase in 19 years.
Over that same time, prices for the whole of greater Geelong rose more than four times.
“You need $1 million to buyer in to Barwon Heads to get something partially renovated in the centre of town,” Mr Molloy said.
“As you move further out, $750,000 to $850,000 will get you in the area where there’s not as much interest from the Melbourne-driven market.”
Mr Molloy said Ocean Grove prices had spiked in the past 18 months as buyers paid big money for properties in the old part of the town near the coast.
But he doesn’t anticipate another rush to the region, given the new series is filmed at Brunswick Heads.
Although plenty of Melbourne families continued to move down for the lifestyle, many settling in Armstrong Creek to get closer to the coast for a more affordable price.
“I think they’re getting out because they’ve had enough of the urban sprawl in Melbourne,” he said.
“With the talk about how Melbourne has come off 15 or 20 per cent, the difference is they’d already gone up 30 per cent. They’re still in front.”
Every week agents report buyers leaving Melbourne for the coast to country around Geelong.
First National Golden Plains, Bannockburn agent Owen Sharkey, who’s also the mayor of Golden Plains Shire, said that same drive for lifestyle is leading people to rural and bush properties north of Geelong.
Mr Sharkey has just listed an amazing off-the-grid home at Maude, which has been a family’s bush retreat for 20 years.
The spectacular four-bedroom house occupies 16ha of bushland near Steiglitz and is listed for expressions of interest with price hopes from $1 million to $1.1 million.
So few homes sell in Maude that there isn’t any price data, but at nearby Bannockburn prices climbed 33 per cent in three years to $513,000.
Mr Sharkey said the strong initial response to the home showed how buyers viewed the region’s lifestyle attributes.
“I suppose you’ve got a lot of Melbourne people either coming down that don’t want to be a leafy suburb like they’ve always been, and they either go for the surf or the bush,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people coming out to our area to escape and it’s not just a different lifestyle house, it’s the lifestyle of the school and the community.
“I think there’s a strong resonance with communities as well as the properties themselves.”