Rural trophy properties to whet city buyer appetites in spring

Rampant house price growth in Sydney and Melbourne is expected to fuel better demand for rural estates in places like the Southern Highlands, the Hunter Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Daylesford this spring selling season.

Home owners who have cashed out at record prices in Mosman and Toorak and seek a quieter country lifestyle should have plenty in the kitty for an English-style manor house, boutique vineyard or grand country estate – plus a few spare dollars for a new Land Rover to fit in with the neighbours.

“It’s fair to say that the prevailing Sydney market is having a positive effect in the Southern Highlands,” said Bruce Eason of Ken Jacob’s Christie’s International Real Estate. Mr Eason is offering Highfield, a nine-bedroom English-style country estate set on 27 hectares in blue-chip Bowral with an asking price of $6.3 million.

“We are seeing an increase – from a low level – in the number of buyers looking in this market. That said the majority are in the earlier stages of their searching so we won’t necessary see an immediate corresponding increase with sales,” Mr Eason said.

“Most buyers are coming from Eastern Suburbs and lower North Shore – which is the general trend but in recent times we are seeing more coming from the northern suburbs and Hills Districts too.”

Mr Eason is cautiously optimistic, and for good reason. A landmark estate like Rona Lodge, near Sutton Forest is back on the market again, having failed to find a buyer last spring at reduced price expectations of between $6.5 million and $7 million.

In the Hunter Valley wine region, about two hours from Sydney, veteran rural agent Alan Jurd is preparing for his best spring selling season in over a decade.

“[Heading into spring] we’ve had our best run since 2003 with 102 transactions in the past three months – more than 40 of them decent rural transactions,” the principal of Jurd’s Real Estate told The Australian Financial Review.


A year ago, Mr Jurd said, there would only have been international buyers in the market for properties like Hungerford Hill, the five-star, Walter Barda-designed winery in Pokolbin he is offering with a $6 million-plus price tag or Dalwood Estate, one of the region’s oldest wineries with a $4 million asking price.

“Now there’s some competition from city-based buyers given low interest rates and the strong Sydney property market,” he said.

“Properties like the Sweetwater Wines Estate, Tremayne at Broke [part of Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm horse-breeding enterprise] and the former Pooles Rock vineyard have all been bought by city-based buyers.”

Kim McQueen, director of lifestyle estates at Colliers International, expects a “very positive spring market” in the key rural lifestyle markets around Melbourne.

“We recently sold Grandview Park, [a five-bedroom contemporary residence on 7.3 hectares] in Mornington to an Asian family for $4.2 million and we are having a number of inquiries and property inspections from overseas buyers,” Ms McQueen said.

Mornington Peninsula agent Peter Hawkins of Pat Rice and Hawkins is selling one of the region’s premier rural offerings, the Delamere Farm horse stud with expectations of about $10 million.

“Buyer inquiries are very strong” with appetite heightened by a lack of listings earlier in the year due to the drier conditions, Mr Hawkins said.

“We’ve had a series of inspections in recent weeks as well as inquiries from the elusive Chinese and international buyers,” he said.

“Demand is very strong strong out of Melbourne, with vendors selling their homes at excellent prices.”

An hour-and-a-half to the east of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley, RT Edgar director Mark Sutherland said things were pretty quiet following a wetter than usual winter.

“There’s not much on the market or coming on the market currently, compared to other years,” he said.

“Inquiry levels are good with interest from local and overseas buyers, but there’s a lack of stock. Properties that are presented well and price appropriately are doing nicely in the market.”

Mr Sutherland is selling the Badgers Brook Estate vineyard, currently under due diligence and expected to sell in the low $4 million range.

“You can get a lovely home here on 20 to 30 acres with no neighbours, instead of paying $3 million to $4 million in Balwyn in Melbourne,” he said.

SOURCE: Australian Financial Review
PUBLISHED: 11th September 2016
WRITTEN: Larry Schlesinger

@Jurds Real Estate – Cessnock and Hunter Valley Wine Country Property Experts – the place to buy, sell and lease property in Cessnock and the Hunter Region.

Australian Property News The Australian Financial Review
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Rural trophy properties to whet city buyer appetites in spring