In The Spotlight - Mansfield
Rural lifestyle properties have been highly sought-after in the wake of the pandemic as buyers fulfill long-held dreams of a slice of land. Victoria’s High Country has attracted a lot of investment out of Melbourne, and even the Mornington Peninsula, as local specialist Kate McDougall explains.
Like many lifestyle regions within a couple of hours’ drive of capital city conveniences, acreage prices have doubled in Victoria’s High Country post-Covid.
A favourite weekender of Melburnians, the communities of Mansfield, Eildon, Mt Buller and surrounds have been in the crosshairs of investors and owner-occupants, particularly for rural lifestyle properties.
“People have been selling-up the family home in Melbourne for very strong prices and pouring those proceeds into a small apartment in Melbourne that they can use when they need to be in the city, and then buying a hobby farm or lifestyle property here,” said McGrath Mansfield’s Kate McDougall.
Trophy sales have also been recorded in the area. McDougall managed an EOI campaign with a quoted price of $16 million at Merrijig, on the way to Mt Buller. The property, set across four titles and 671 acres, sold halfway through the campaign period. The residence, set on 35 acres, boasted 500m of Delatite River frontage and included a stunning architect-designed six-bedroom, five-bathroom home. An adjoining freehold farm carried 150 head of cattle, improvements including a 24mx16m hay shed, vet room and undercover cattle yards, and a self-contained cottage.
“A large percentage of our buyers are coming here for rural lifestyle properties. We’re a tourist area: we have two beautiful lakes, two significant rivers and we are on the doorstep of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.
“In addition to Melbourne, we are seeing a high number of buyers coming out of the Mornington Peninsula who are fed-up with the traffic congestion in their area. (These buyers) have sold in a lucrative market and are still getting great bang for their buck in our region.”
While the newfound premiums have been great news for sellers, McDougall said the area’s popularity is proving to be a ‘doubled-edged sword’.
The High Country has sustained generations of cattle and sheep grazing, and strong prices are encouraging smaller hobby farmers to test their hand at farming. The nearest saleyards are at Euroa and Yea.
McDougall said farmers have been key to explore expansion on the back of excellent seasonal conditions, including ‘one of the best autumns in a long time’. Larger grazing country has always been in high-demand in the area, and local farmers are now having to competing with ‘Urban Farmers’ for land holdings.
“We have seen land prices double over recent years with productive land now fetching $10,000 to $12,000 an acre,” said McDougall.
In Mansfield, the median house price has increased by almost 30% over the last year, to $775,000.
“If you’re wanting a hundred acres with a decent house, you’re looking at the $2m plus price point,” said McDougall.