Wimmera town Jeparit the cheapest spot to buy a house in Victoria
The birthplace of Australia’s longest serving prime minister now has another claim to fame — as the cheapest place to buy a house in Victoria.
The typical house in “modest little town” Jeparit is selling for $79,000, according to property data firm CoreLogic.
This was despite Sir Robert Menzies’ birthplace — about 380km northwest of Melbourne on the Wimmera River and Lake Hindmarsh — notching a 22 per cent median sale price rise in the year to November 30.
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The latest CoreLogic figures show Melbourne’s median house price is nine times Jeparit’s, at $723,000.
Harcourts Horsham agent Chris Schirmer said the town was made up of “one little supermarket, about 20 streets, a school, a hospital and a good footy ground”. The latest census puts it population at 477.
“You’d blink and almost miss it driving past,” Mr Schirmer said.
Its one pub, Hopetoun House Hotel, sold last June for $235,000 and is on track to reopen.
And its footy club merged with that of nearby town Rainbow to stay alive. Rainbow is another of Victoria’s cheapest house markets, with a $97,250 median.
“We’re getting a lot of city folk, from Melbourne and Geelong, looking for a quieter lifestyle,” Mr Schirmer said.
“They’re selling up, buying a house here mortgage-free and enjoying a quiet life with a lot of fishing.”
He said Jeparit houses were regularly fetching figures below the lean median — he’d sold three in the past seven months for $55,000, $56,000 and $57,000.
“It’s amazing to think, for about $150,000, you could buy three houses,” he said.
Fellow Wimmera towns Minyip and Hopetoun are the state’s next most affordable housing spots, with $84,500 and $87,500 medians respectively, according to CoreLogic.
Mallee locales Ouyen, Birchip and Sea Lake also came in below $100,000 and Wycheproof, Murtoa and Warracknabeal, just above.
The towns’ property markets have enjoyed mixed fortunes over the past year — from Sea Lake’s 37 per cent median price gain to Ouyen’s 31 per cent drop.
CoreLogic Australian head of real estate Geoff White said a house in a country town an hour or so from a regional city could be a good buy for those who did their research and understood factors that might affect an area, such as drought.
“An hour of country driving isn’t like driving an hour on the Monash, it’s a lot more pleasant,” Mr White said.
“So there may not be a job in Ouyen for you, but you can live there and work in Mildura.”
He said gains in dollar terms might not match those seen in major cities, but buy-in costs were low.
“These towns have survived for a long time — Jeparit is where Sir Rob Menzies was born, so it’s been around a while. They will hold their own and rise over time,” Mr White said.
Tourism Brokers director Michael Philpott, whose agency sold the Hopetoun House Hotel, said country Victoria offered “some incredible opportunities” for people seeking lifestyle changes.
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VICTORIA’S CHEAPEST TOWNS FOR HOUSES
1. Jeparit (Wimmera region): $79,000 median sale price
2. Minyip (Wimmera): $84,500
3. Hopetoun (Wimmera): $87,500
4. Ouyen (Mallee): $90,000
5. Birchip (Mallee): $92,500
6. Rainbow (Wimmera): $97,250
7. Sea Lake (Mallee): $97,500
8. Wycheproof (Mallee): $110,000
9. Murtoa (Wimmera): $112,475
10. Warracknabeal (Wimmera): $113,750
Source: CoreLogic for year to November 30, 2018. Only towns with 10-plus sales.